Council secured an initial £5,000 Sustainable Food Places Development Grant in early 2021. This grant has been spent on the development of a 'Mid and East Antrim Sustainable Food Places' partnership consisting of Officers from Parks and Open Spaces, Waste, Environmental Health, Procurement, Tourism, Economic Development and Communications, alongside organisations including Northern Health & Social Care Trust and FareShare and community stakeholders such as Positive Carrickfergus and Larne Area Community Support Group. The partnership developed via an extensive six month engagement programme and seven sessions facilitated by Clare Cuthbert (Blue Moss Consulting) supported by Kerry Melville (Belfast Food Network). The sessions focused on what food issues/positive food stories currently exist in Mid and East Antrim, education around the six pillars of SPF framework, ideas sharing etc. From these sessions a draft Terms of Reference was developed.
Some of the funding was also allocated to an 'on the ground' project which was decided organically by the partnership. The partnership decided to run 'kitchen table talks' to find out more about local food knowledge and to map key issues on the ground by speaking directly to residents of the Borough.
The 'kitchen table talks' were promoted extensively on Council's social media and community networks. The kitchen table talks were led by partnership members and encouraged people to come together to discuss food in the broadest sense and complete focused questions to shape future policy. In total, there were 49 table talks carried out across the Borough in summer 2021. With an average of four people per table talk that is an estimated 200 responses from borough residents.
The responses have been included in a report and these findings, plus follow on sessions with the partnership, helped shape a draft action plan which will be developed further in the coming months and years.
Have a lead Officer to co-ordinate. Link to regional initiatives e.g. Sustainable Food Places, Sustainable Fish Cities. Engage stakeholders e.g. Health Trust. Look out for external funding opportunities. Engage residents.
Number of responses to kitchen table talks (200+).