Gold in food sustainability

Healthy eating, growing, sharing and learning about food is central to all aspects of sustainability says Cambridge Sustainable Food’s CEO

Cambridge Sustainable Food helped Railpen and their Development Manager, Socius, to prepare and adopt a Statement of Intent for their Devonshire Gardens development which describes how they will make sustainable food part of the ongoing life and character of the scheme.

It’s about growing food on site, minimising waste, understanding what is healthy food from sustainable sources, cooking and sharing, providing a communal kitchen space for training or other events, and to develop community.

We promote six food related sustainability principles across the city. Devonshire Gardens is one of the first mixed use schemes in the city to commit to this approach.

There are now 100 UK cities involved under the Sustainable Food Places umbrella and its award scheme. We are going for the Gold Award. This has been awarded to Bristol and Brighton so far. We’ve been a member for ten years and we have a Silver Award – one of six cities to have got this far. We’re working with Cardiff and Middlesborough to win that Gold Award.

Devonshire Gardens’ Statement of Intent is part of the work for that award and goes towards proving the embeddedness of food sustainability across the city. Making it central to development, not just an add-on, including growing food close to where it is eaten, planting fruit trees, providing allotments, alongside the softer/social side, creating spaces for people to come together around food, to cook, share, learn.

Socius is the first developer we’ve worked with to create a Statement of Intent, and we’re engaging with others. We already run a well-established series of campaigns supported by communities and more than 150 local businesses.

Socius are pioneering in this space. I’m really pleased about their commitment because I live in Marmalade Lane social housing (RIBA Stirling Prize Winning scheme by developer Town) which is an exemplar in food growing, for its communal food shop, shared kitchen and space to eat. I know how great this approach to food can be.