A prestigious national award has been presented to the Devon Food Partnership in recognition of its work to promote healthy, sustainable and local food.

The Sustainable Food Places Bronze Award acknowledges the positive impact the Partnership has had since it was established in 2021 following the growth in demand for local food during the pandemic.

Earlier this year, the Partnership published Devon’s Good Food Strategy 2023-2028, which identifies the key priorities for Devon’s food system for the next five years. Since then, the Partnership has been focused on delivering these priorities which include food governance, healthy food for all, and a sustainable food economy.

Devon’s Good Food Strategy is calling for the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food to be transformed as the Partnership looks to tackle some of today’s greatest social challenges such as food poverty, diet-related ill-health, food waste and the pressures faced by family farms and independent food retailers.

One of the Partnership’s key achievements has been working closely with Devon Community Foundation to host the first Devon Food Insecurity Summit, bringing together stakeholders to discuss recent research and approaches to food insecurity in the county.

Out of this collaboration, a Devon Food Insecurity Working Group has been established with the aim of continuing those conversations. A further Devon Food in Schools Working Group has also been established to focus on issues around school food.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Equality, said: “Congratulations to the Devon Food Partnership on receiving this award. Having only launched a couple of years ago, the Partnership has put in a lot of hard work in producing a strategy as it works towards its vision for nutritious, local, sustainably produced food to be available and affordable for everyone in Devon. The Partnership represents a wide variety of organisations and communities but it's working on a collective approach to generate the best result for Devon.”

Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places Programme Manager, said: “Devon has shown just what can be achieved when creative and committed people work together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live. While there is still much to do and many challenges to overcome, the Devon Food Partnership has helped to set a benchmark for other members of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network to follow. We look forward to working with them over the months and years ahead to continue to transform Devon’s food culture and food system for the better.”

Although hosted by Devon County Council, the Partnership is led by a range of key partners from across the county, including Plymouth and Torbay.