The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership has secured a grant of £500,000 over four years from the Big Lottery Fund to increase the amount of food grown in the City and to encourage people to eat more locally produced food. ‘Harvest Brighton and Hove’ is one of the first projects in England to receive a Beacon grant from the Big Lottery’s Local Food scheme, awarded to projects which have national significance. Harvest Brighton and Hove is a project led by the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, in partnership with Food Matters, the University of Brighton, the Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation, the Brighton Permaculture Association, Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and the Whitehawk Community Food Project. It is supported by Brighton and Hove City Council, and Brighton and Hove Teaching Primary Care Trust.
Harvest Brighton and Hove aims to increase the amount of local food produced and eaten within the City, and encourage more people to grow food in their gardens, patios or even window boxes. It will encourage food growing in underused and unusual spaces, for example, on land around housing and workplaces and will provide people with the skills and opportunities to grow food – whether at home, school or in community gardens.
“This is tremendous news for the City. Harvest Brighton and Hove is about showing that food is more than just an item in plastic wrapping on a supermarket shelf,” said Brighton and Hove Food Partnership Chair, Sue Dibb. “We are thrilled that we are only one of a few projects to receive Beacon funding from the Big Lottery.”
Councillor Mary Mears, Chairman of Brighton & Hove’s Sustainability Cabinet Committee, said: “The Council is proud to be part of Harvest Brighton and Hove. I’m looking forward to seeing food plots sprouting up in unexpected corners of the City. Not only will they look good, they will taste good too. The successful bid of £1/2 million over the next four years will bring together communities, decision-makers and local enterprises to inspire and support residents in growing their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.”
The three year project will work with partners across the City to explore how urban food production can help reduce the carbon footprint of the City, tackle obesity and diet-related disease, increase the quality of life of residents, and contribute to a more sustainable food system in the future. Researchers from the University of Brighton will develop an urban agriculture ‘opportunity map’ for Brighton and Hove, making recommendations for an urban design strategy that can accommodate food growing sites within the city. They will also evaluate the success of the project. Andre Viljoen from the University said:
“Harvest Brighton and Hove will move us one step further towards testing the viability of urban agriculture as an essential element of sustainable urban infrastructures.”
Mark Wheddon, Local Food Programme Manager of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, added: “The Beacon projects we will be funding over the next few months will have a real impact on the accessibility of local food right across the country. Harvest Brighton and Hove marks just the beginning in Beacon grant funding from the Local Food programme and we are excited by the quality of projects we will be supporting in the future.” The project will be formally launched in the autumn.