Islington tops Good Food Boroughs list

07:00 12 September 2012

The Top Good Food Borough report rates councils on a series of measures, including healthy school food. File picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The Top Good Food Borough report rates councils on a series of measures, including healthy school food. File picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Islington has been named London’s Top Good Food Borough for the second year running.

"Londoners care about good food, and they want to know what their boroughs are doing to support good food."

Ross Compton

The Good Food for London 2012 report gives a league table of local authorities, marking them on their support for key good food initiatives. These include community food growing, high quality school food, helping local food outlets serve healthier food, and buying ethical food in schools and local authority canteens, including Fairtrade products, cage-free eggs and sustainable fish.

The report, published by London Food Link, placed Islington at the top of its list of the 33 London boroughs, and named Merton as the Most Improved Good Food Borough, but it said the Hillingdon did “not appear to be taking significant action on good food issues”.

The council defended itself, saying it strongly believed “in promoting and supporting positive health and wellbeing for all our residents, and this goes much further than the criteria in the Good Food for London report”.

Nigel Dicker, Hillingdon Council’s deputy director of public safety and environment, said : “We have a dedicated officer that works with schools and early years’ centres to offer nutritional advice and support. Our caterers, who supply food to these centres and council offices, are committed to ethical sourcing, sustainability, and social and environmental responsibility.

“Our allotments are also popular with residents and provide good and low cost food as well as a valuable recreational opportunity involving healthy activity and social contacts. We have a number of schemes to promote good eating and healthy lifestyles and additional information is available online.”

In addition to Islington and Merton eight other London boroughs were praised for their work to support good food. These were Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Richmond-upon-Thames, Sutton, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Report author and London Food Link officer, Ross Compton, said: “Londoners care about good food, and they want to know what their boroughs are doing to support good food.

“Back in 2011, we first produced a league table, and maps showing which boroughs are taking action on good food.

“In 2012, we are delighted to report London-wide progress on all of the six good food initiatives that we tracked.

“In many London boroughs, schoolchildren are now receiving fresher, tastier and more sustainable food than last year, and tens of thousands of local residents have better access to green space for growing food.

“Borough support for farmers and local businesses has also improved, and there are early signs that several boroughs are doing their bit to create bee-friendly environments.”

Kath Dalmeny, a member of the London Food Board that advises on London’s food policy, said: “The Good Food for London maps paint an inspiring picture of progress by many London Boroughs to support good food.

“The maps also challenge those boroughs that are lagging behind to follow the good example set by Islington and others, and take more action to make it easier for their residents and visitors to eat healthier and more sustainable food.

“If all London boroughs took the simple, affordable and effective action outlined in this report, it would significantly improve the health of Londoners, the livelihoods of the farmers and other food providers, and the sustainability of the food system on which we all depend.”

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