The Case for Local Food

Building better local food systems to benefit society and nature

This report from Sustain presents a vision for a revival in localised, nature-friendly food systems, supported by investment in infrastructure, skills and co-ordination, alongside policies that enable these businesses to operate successfully while providing a range of benefits to society. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the evidence to date on the environmental, economic and social benefits of localised food systems. It shows that smaller food outlets create three times the jobs as supermarket chains; and a shift in retail market share could create 200,000 jobs.

Local food systems allow for a larger proportion of revenues to be retained in the local economy; every £10 spent with the box scheme results in total spending of £25 in the local area, compared with just £14 when the same amount is spent in a supermarket. A shift to more localised food systems would help level up the country, with every part of the UK having the potential to benefit.

In order to realise these benefits it calls for the creation of a Local Food Investment Fund to provide strategic support for sustainable local food systems; a growth plan to deliver a 10% retail market share for non-multiples by 2030; and that every local authority area in the UK is served by a food partnership by 2025, amongst other recommendations. The report also calls on the government to make it much easier for smaller companies to bid for £2 billion spent on public food contracts, with a target rollout of dynamic procurement to 33% of the country by the end of 2025.

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