Founded in 2018, the Tower Hamlets Food Partnership brings together a broad range of stakeholders to better tackle food related issues. By working together we can push for projects and work more effectively on practice and policy changes that improve the local food system.
The borough faces decreasing funding and increasing hardships despite community organisations and statutory services’ best efforts. Food lies at the heart of some of Tower Hamlets greatest problems and we believe improving our food system will be a vital part of the solution. The Partnership envisions Tower Hamlets as a borough of good food for all where healthier, sustainable food is affordable, accessible and loved by everyone.
Since its founding, the partnership has had a wide range of diverse stakeholders as members and a committed steering group to develop the project. This includes members from Public Health, commissioned third sector programmes, third sector and community organisations, food campaigners, the CVS, registered social landlords, schools and community activists.
The food partnership’s first major project is the ‘Know your food system’ research and scoping exercise to map and better understand local need, activities and opportunities in Tower Hamlets.
There are so many fantastic organisations working to promote access to healthy and sustainable food such as:
The Tower Hamlets Food Growing Network which supports sustainable food growing and links local organisations with people passionate about food.
One Love Community Foundation which is a grassroots network reaching out to local communities to provide knowledge and support to improve health, responsibility and security.
Food Cycle Bow Road which works with volunteers to make free meals for the community from surplus food.
As well as numerous community organisations running cooking classes:
Quaker Social Action’s Bags of Taste
Women’s Environmental Network and Poplar Harca Live Well Courses
However, as funding becomes increasingly difficult to secure, efforts become fragmented while levels of marginalisation and poverty mean the need is greater.
As a steering group, we are working together with Public Health to research the current context that will inform the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and develop proposals for future projects around holiday hunger, barriers to access and affordability, junk food advertising and supporting diverse projects that promote desirability and sustainability.
The partnership will officially launch at The Tower Hamlets Food Growing Network’s Harvest Festival at the end of October 2018.
Together we will work to the following values:
1. Community: Develop and strengthen cross-sector partnerships to help deliver our vision.
2. Knowledge: Share data, insight and expertise to better understand and improve our food system.
3. Action: Work collaboratively to identify, inform, fundraise and deliver projects to create a more equitable and sustainable food system.
4. Communication: Celebrate the joy of healthier, shared food by sharing information about local opportunities and services using online platforms and local networks.
5. Accountability: Collaborate, campaign and celebrate success to hold one another accountable for delivering objectives.
Still in our infancy, we have created the following documents outlining the food partnership:
A Terms of Reference
‘Know your food system’ research agenda
A draft action plan
The action plan builds on work undertaken to produce the Food Poverty Action Plan which sits within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council’s Poverty Strategy. This was developed using a public world café participatory action research event and led to the creation of working groups. You can read more about this here.