Welcome to Local Food
Local Food is a £59.8 million programme that distributes grants from the Big Lottery Fund to a variety of food-related projects that are helping to make locally grown food accessible and affordable to local communities.
Local Food is now closed to all new applications, but you can keep up to date with all our news here on the website.
Click on the box to the left to read the latest updates from our funded projects, or click here to read and leave your comments on our new Local Food team blog.
You can also keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking on the links in the box on the bottom left, read our latest news below, or sign up for our enewsletter.
Local Food programme evaluation reports
"It's called the Local Food programme, but it is very much about people... Food is the medium, and it's not just about food -- it's all the other things. It does wonderful things to your soul!"
In 2009, RSWT commissioned the University of Gloucestershire's Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), together with f3, The Local Food Consultants, to undertake an evaluation of the Local Food programme, which has run from 2009 to 2014. The purpose of this evaluation has been to conduct an on-going assessment of the programme in its entirety.
This is the final report of the evaluation of Local Food. It examines the extent to which the programme has addressed its over-arching aim and five main themes. The report concludes by reflecting on how well the programme has achieved what it set out to do, and makes some recommendations for the future of local food projects. It builds on the report produced to celebrate the mid-point of the programme in October 2012, entitled ‘More than just the veg: growing community capacity through Local Food projects', and should be read in conjunction with it.
"Local Food projects are being used as a vehicle for facilitating wider societal changes to take place, with the funding from Local Food intended to act as a catalyst and enabler for positive change within communities."
A Social Return on Investment Approach
In March 2011, the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) were commissioned to undertake an assessment of the Local Food programme using the Social Return on Investment (SROI) framework, an established methodology recognised by the Cabinet Office that has been developed from social accounting and cost-benefit analysis.
In SROI, monetary values are used to represent outcomes, which enables a ratio of benefits-to-investment to be calculated and the amount of social, economic and environmental value created for every £1 invested in the programme.
During the Local Food Celebratory Event in November 2013 at the Lowry, Manchester, Professor Paul Courtney from the University of Gloucestershire presented the initial results from the SROI report to 130 delegates, including dignitaries from the sector, Local Food funded projects and other interested parties.
The findings suggest that every £1 invested in Local Food returns £7 to society in the form of social and economic outcomes including health and well-being, training and skills.
Local Food Celebratory Event
Nearly 130 people attended the Local Food Celebratory Event which took place at the Lowry in Manchester on Wednesday 20th November.
The morning included case studies from three Local Food projects, a Social Return on Investment: initial results and impact report and a live link up to a Local Food funded project in Newcastle, where we were able to see and hear from workshop participants learning how to grow and cook local food. The morning concluded with a Panel debate & Q &A session which aimed to answer the question “Is Local Food the best investment in communities?” The Panel was made up of Richard Caulfield, Mary Clear, Colin Tudge, Judy Ling Wong, Margi Lennartsson and Dharmendra Kanani.
A local lunch was provided by Manchester Veg People, a multi-stakeholder co-operative of local organic growers and buyers who are working together to develop a model for the local food chain, aiming to increase access to local produce. A number of local producers supplied lunch, including Local Food funded projects. Green Plate, a small catering company operating in the Greater Manchester and North West area, prepared lunch at the venue with produce supplied from the Manchester Veg People.
In the afternoon guests were invited to the Local Food Awards ceremony, an opportunity to celebrate some of the outstanding projects that Local Food have funded since 2008.
All 500 Local Food projects were invited to enter the Awards in four categories – Small Grants, Community Food Growing, Education and Learning, and Enterprise. Shortlisted projects were put before an external panel in September, and the winners in each category were unveiled during the event.
Local Food Heroes 2013
Local Food Heroes 2013 is an initiative to give our projects the chance to recognise and celebrate the outstanding people who work hard to make their project a success.
All Local Food projects were invited to nominate a group or an individual who they believe is worthy of the title Local Food Hero 2013, and these were then voted upon by the public.
Voting closed at 5pm on 1st July, and we willl shortly be unveiling the winners in each of our 9 regions of England. Watch this space!
Local Food: 101 inspirations & aspirationsA recent academic evaluation of the Local Food programme found that it is building communities and improving lives in many different ways, by supporting hundreds of projects around the country (see links below).
But we've also been busy asking the people involved in the projects what it is that inspires them about the Local Food programme, and what their aspirations are for the future.
Take a look at 101 things that inspire people about Local Food, and 101 aspirations for the future to read a selection of short comments from the people on the ground who run our projects day to day, who have the local insight and hands-on expertise to inform their views about the Local Food programme and its future.
Local Food - More than just the vegAt an event at City Hall in London on 18 October, we launched the interim findings of an academic evaluation of Local Food.
The report, called "More than just the veg - Growing community capacity through Local Food projects", shows how Local Food projects are going beyond their aim of making local food more accessible and affordable, and are building community capacity across England.
At the event, delegates saw three films which demonstrate how Local Food is growing community capacity by building material capacity, building personal capacity, and building cultural capacity. Click here to see them, and join the discussion on our Twitter page #morethanjusttheveg. You can also read more about the event, including a summary of key comments, by clicking here.
Local Food's Big Review
Take a look at 'Local Food's Big Review', our online community which is built up entirely of Local Food projects. From farmers' markets to allotments, beekeeping to a community cafe, this inspiring landscape will give you a taster of the areas and projects where Local Food is having a positive impact.