Food businesses and change

Food businesses and change

We just love the way our great food businesses have adapted to the changing world.

Over the past few years, we have all seen the real value of our local food ecosystem.

Now is not the time to forget the true value of our local food producers, cafes, bars, restaurants and retailers.  The next few years will see even greater changes in our relationship with the food we eat.

This is Cumbria

Recently, we had the privilege to present at the Grocer Live at the Farm Shop & Deli Show in the NEC.  We were there as the organisers of This is Cumbria a collective of Cumbrian Food Producers who with the support of Cartmell Shepherd, Enterprise Answers and Thomas Jardine & Co were spreading the word of the brilliant food and drink produced in our place.

On the stage the previous day we saw an interview of Henry Dimbleby by Adam Leyland (The Grocer’s editor-in-chief) on the National Food Strategy.  People outside the food sector may not yet be aware of the National Food Strategy but its recommendations will form part of the way we view our food. There are four main objectives in this plan.

  • First is to escape the “junk food cycle” which will protect the NHS.
  • Second is to reduce diet-related inequality.
  • Third is to make best use of land.
  • Fourth and most ambitious is to create long-term shift in food culture.

Carlisle and the National Food Strategy

It struck us as we listened to Henry how in many ways Carlisle is already working towards his objectives.

  • Many of our great cafes and restaurants are already offering healthier alternatives.  These range from dairy free milk for your coffee at Bruce and Luke’s to delicious vegetarian options at the Good Sister.  Every month the Guilders from the Guild go for a meal at a local restaurant and everywhere has offered a gluten-free option.  This was not the case at the NEC cafes where, by each afternoon even fresh fruit was a rare delicacy.
  • The work of the late Rachael Rodway founder of Carlisle’s Foodbank will continue. Alongside this are many other projects focused on diet inequality that Emma Mackie from Food Carlisle can direct you to.
  • Carlisle folk have always had to make the best use of our land.  A prime example of forward thinking comes from Evas Organics. There are many more examples all around our city from allotments to forward thinking farmers.
  • The most ambitious objective to create a long-term shift in food culture.  This is where Henrys plan leans towards the blunt instrument of legislation.  This is a very difficult way of creating change. Already the government has delayed the banning promotions on ‘High Fat Salt and Sugar’ because of the impact this would have on food inflation.  As Carlisle residents we can all play our part in our food ecosystem.  Money is getting tighter so when we treat our selves let’s look to support our local food heroes.  WE have everything from brilliant coffee shops to the Lounge on the Green, finalists in the Cumbrian Food Awards alongside the renowned Cottage in the Woods and L’Enclume.  Carlisle businesses already support their local food supply chain.  Examples we have already mentioned include Cartmell Shepherd sponsorship of This is Cumbria and the Guilds monthly get togethers at local restaurants.

Local Food Ecosystem

In many ways Carlisle has always led the UKs food and drink movement. From Carrs Biscuits founding principles of affordable biscuits to the State Management control of alcohol sales.  Let’s continue the tradition. What do you as a local business or local consumer do to support your local food ecosystem?

First published in Carlisle Living