Food

We aim to find an alternative system that produces higher quality food in ways that are better for people, the environment and livestock.  We support initiatives that raise awareness, promote and demonstrate reduced usage of harmful pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and fossil fuels. We want to stimulate community involvement in food production and support the development of a more positive policy position. We also encourage organisations from across the spectrum of food interests to work more closely together to address system-wide issues.

Over the last five years, we have made £8 million of grants through the Food Strand, £2.5 million of which was in 2014.

Funding priorities:

  • Local innovation in alternative approaches

We back inventive local projects that demonstrate alternative approaches to mainstream corporate food production and consumption. These exemplify viable food production methods that do less harm to the natural environment than conventional food production practices, while enhancing the lives of people and livestock. They will involve local communities and are also widely replicable if successful. They can articulate how they might help to influence policy and practice.

  • Food and wellbeing

We will fund exemplary and high impact work that improves people’s understanding of the role of food in their lives and the impact it can have on personal and community wellbeing. In particular we seek to influence changes in public preferences, attitudes and behaviours. This can be simple but should be on a scale that influences and drives how food is produced, transported, marketed and consumed and can influence significant numbers of people.  We are looking for approaches that are engaging, participatory and educational without preaching to people.

  • Working towards a more coherent food sector

We aim to foster closer links between those who can influence changes in food production, distribution and consumption, such as third sector community food groups and retailers. This will include work that links advocates of change in the food system with academics and sources of research and evidence. We also support work that aims to persuade mainstream food businesses of all sizes to engage with the food sustainability agenda and to seek sustainable sources of supply.

Finally, we back organisations that have the capacity and skills to engage policy makers at national regional and local level. We are looking for organisations with a track record of gathering and presenting persuasive, evidence-based arguments. 

As a result of our funding, we hope to see:

  • High quality, innovative local food projects, particularly those that can become financially sustainable and are replicable.
  • Closer links between NGOs, community groups, producers, retailers and industry in order to create a more coherent food sector.
  • A demonstrable improvement in people’s understanding of the place that food plays in our lives and that delivers behaviour changes.
  • Greater demand for food that is produced more sustainably and approaches with the capacity to influence a large number of consumers.
  • A prioritisation of sustainable food production and consumption in local and national policy, practice and decision-making.

Exclusions - what we do not fund

We do not support the following; please do not apply if your organisation or work falls into any of these:

  • Food-related work that is well supported from other sources
  • Work that takes place primarily in individual schools
  • Routine local growing schemes
  • Other work that is routine or well-proven elsewhere, for example:
    • Core work of city and demonstration farms
    • Healthy eating projects
    • Gastronomic societies and clubs
    • The routine work of farmers markets
    • Mainstream work of individual allotment associations
    • Therapeutic farming and horticulture projects
    • Community based work of entirely local impact with no prospect of wider replication
    • Community Cafés 
    • Individual food banks
  • Weight loss organisations and other specialist diet groups
  • Work that provides a commercial advantage to individual suppliers
  • Work that has primarily health-related outcomes
  • Work that forms a better fit with our sector priorities.

Work that comes under our general exclusions will not be funded under this strand, and we are unlikely to fund research.