On October 4th and 5th 2021, FixOurFood were privileged to host a delegation of representatives from the DEFRA National Food Strategy white paper team. The meeting was held at Spark: York, the vibrant social enterprise container park in the centre of York and one of our collaborators on the programme.
The visit was timed to coincide with an event our Sustainable and healthy food for children team were running with our Leaders for Change; a group of young people from schools from across Yorkshire working with us to drive change in the food system. In addition, the DEFRA team were able to experience “Grow It York” – the FixOurFood vertical community farm run by our Hybrid Business Model team and hosted at Spark: York.
In the afternoon, the DEFRA team were joined by the wider FixOurFood team with researchers from The University of York, the University of Leeds and City University of London. Fascinating discussions evolved around FixOurFood and the National Food Strategy team’s activities and on how we can work together to enable the transformation of the food system in Yorkshire and beyond.
The next morning detailed discussions continued about the Yorkshire food economy and the transformative potential held by hybrid food economies specifically. For this, we were joined by entrepreneurs and representatives from third sector organisations from across Yorkshire, including Mark Blakestone from York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, James Sturdy from Sturdy Foods, and Hilary Hamer from the urban community farm Rooted in Hull, who shared their insights and their vision of change.
We closed this fantastic morning with a thought-provoking talk provided by regenerative farmer Alastair Trickett, Chair of the Future Farmers of Yorkshire. Alastair guided us though the reasons why it is hard for farmers to make a change to their farming system, prompting lots of questions that the teams will continue to challenge over the next months and years.