Being Brave - Innovative Solutions to Public Food Procurement

thumbnail_Being brave community garden

Greater Manchester has resolved to become carbon-neutral by 2038. In its ‘5 Year Environment Plan’ it also calls for:

  • All citizens to have access to healthy and locally produced food
  • The reduction of unnecessary food waste
  • Supporting local food growing and redistribution initiatives and organisations
  • Working with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Organisations on the development of its food strategy
  • The production of a roadmap and future food strategy, which will set out a pathway and priorities for our food system

 This report aims to contribute to these ambitions and to improve the resilience and reduce climate impacts of food procurement.

 The report finds that there is a pressing need to improve school food provision. Adopting a more sustainable approach to school meals could facilitate substantial benefits in children’s nutrition and health, as well as reduced carbon emissions.

 It also recommends that GMCA should audit public sector food waste in the city-region to identify scope for improvement. Most food waste is generated by errors in portion planning, predicting demand, and poor food selection.

To stimulate regional economies and reduce the length of supply chains it must make its procurement systems easier to navigate, i.e. through the introduction of Dynamic Purchasing Systems, which increase access for smaller, local businesses as they compete for a portion of a contract at times when they can meet demand.

It is also necessary to invest in Digital Skills and Infrastructure across the Supply Chain to ensure that all suppliers have the necessary digital infrastructure and skills, which could also represent a social value contribution to the region as caterers, producers, and others across the supply chain improve their digital skills.

Finally, the report recommends investment in urban agriculture & vertical farms in Greater Manchester to improve quality of life by increasing the number of community-focused and green spaces, and can provide fresh vegetables all year round. 

Every person interviewed for this report was convinced that there could only be systemic change with robust and reliable leadership from the GMCA. The researchers recognise that by following the recommendations in this report, Greater Manchester could become an example to authorities across the UK and beyond.

You can find the full report here: 'Being Brave: Innovative Solutions to Public Food Procurement'

GMCA’s ‘5 Year Environment Plan’ is available here: Five-Year Environment Plan

The research was part of a Student Experience Internship at the Tyndall Centre through a generous donation from the Conlan family.