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Food Sustainability Discussed at new Event

A ‘circular economy’ could prove key in improving food sustainability acrossthe Liverpool City Region.

That’s according to stakeholders who attended a unique online event, Growing Liverpool City Region's Circular Food Economy, earlier this month. 

It was co-hosted by Liverpool Hope University’s Socio-Economic and Applied
Research for Change (SEARCH) research centre and the Circular Economy Club
Liverpool City Region (CEC LCR) which is coordinated by Merseyside Recycling and
Waste Authority (MRWA). More than 120 delegates attended the webinar, with
around 25 being participant stakeholders.

These stakeholders ranged from national-wide organisations such as Kellogg’s, The
Co-op, and Princes foods, discussing the local food economy alongside local
authorities and councils, local businesses like HomeBaked, and third sector
organisations such as such as Compost Works, Regenerus and St Andrew’s
Community Network.

And for Dr Tony Bradley, Lecturer in Business at Hope and Centre Director of
SEARCH, the summit highlighted the real ambition from stakeholders to make a
circular economy a reality. 

He says: “It was amazing to see so many key stakeholders at our event.  Key issues discussed related to local scale food production, distribution and access. There are some very innovative and vital urban farm projects and local growing initiatives in our city region. 

“An issue highlighted by stakeholders related to food labelling, packaging and
information on nutrition, in both retail and hospitality venues, such as restaurants,
bars and cafes. 

"The challenge now is to get all the various operations integrated and right at a local level. But what the event showed is that there is no lack of ambition, motivation and energy to do exactly that. What is required is the leadership and initiative to close the many loops and make the circular economy a reality.”

The Circular Economy Club is a global organisation, with 280 chapters in 140
countries.

The Club aims to ‘accelerate circular economy activities across the Liverpool City Region, to ‘share experiences and expertise’, and to ‘develop and deliver resource management projects that will create a region where we reduce what we throw away, retain value and create employment in this growing part of the economy.’

Meanwhile the Growing Liverpool City Region's Circular Food Economy event is the first of its kind to be co-hosted by Hope.

The University’s Business School is also one of the pillar organisations of Liverpool’s Good Business Festival, which has close links with the CEC LCR. 

During the event, many stakeholders called out for strategic investment to support
more urban food production, and also to support access to food organisations. 

Dr Bradley, co-author of the book The Idea of the Communiversity: Releasing the
Natural, Cultural, Technological and Economic GENE-ius of Societies, points out that
in a Borough like Knowsley, where there was not a single A-level student for three
years, up to 2020, the link between educational and food deprivation is clear.

He adds: “It sounds like an issue that’s unrelated to the circular food economy but it’s
actually very much connected. Educational deprivation is related to economic
deprivation, which feeds a form of distribution and service provision that doesn’t
allow for local organisations and outlets - such as greengrocers for example - to
exist.”

Business students at Hope will not only learn about the circular food economy as
part of sustainability studies, they’ll also now gain practical experience by working
with stakeholders. 

Dr Bradley adds: “It’s a double-pronged attack; we’re teaching sustainability in theory
in the classroom and then getting the students involved with practitioners, so that
they learn from the stakeholders about what this really means at a grassroots level. And by doing this, we’re hopefully able to safeguard and improve the circular food economy for the future.”

** For more details about the Circular Economy Club LCR, head here

*** For details of Liverpool Hope University’s acclaimed Business School, head .


Published on 19/03/2021