The recently created Belfast Food Network, supported by Belfast City Council, is set to transform Northern Ireland’s food culture in a bid to address urgent social, economic and environmental issues through the promotion of fresh, sustainable, locally-sourced and, crucially, value-for-money food. A new Sustainable Food Directory will be launched at an open event at St George’s Market on Saturday 5 April at 11am, where shoppers will have the opportunity to discover a new way to access an extensive list of local traders stocking fully traceable produce.
A founding member of the £1M UK-wide Sustainable Food Cities programme, the Belfast Food Network is on a mission to provide healthier and often cheaper locally-sourced alternatives to supermarket produce to the Northern Ireland public.
Kerry Melville, Coordinator of the Belfast Food Network said: “A recent WRAP survey shows that ‘the average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals every week, costing us as a nation £12.5 billion a year.’ This not only increases poverty levels but is also unsustainable in environmental and economic terms.”
“The Belfast Food Network has been set up to promote responsible food choices, which have proven benefits on health, help local food producers to remain sustainable and to reduce carbon footprint.”
“With our new interactive Sustainable Food Directory, you will be able to find a retailer stocking fresh, seasonal and locally-sourced produce near you at the click of a button. Just enter your postcode and the type of produce you are looking for and the closest retailer’s details will pop up, including information on their suppliers and commitment to sustainability.”
Rita Wild is the founder of Boxa. In just two years the organic food club, based on the principle of co-ops or group buying, has secured an ever-growing member-base. The club supplies boxes of high quality organic meat from local, grass-fed animals and line-caught fish, which Rita sources locally. Rita said: “When I set up Boxa, my main aim was to find a way to make local sustainable food more accessible and affordable by using the tried and tested method of bulk buying and sharing.
“If you are ready to slightly change your shopping and cooking habits, you can ensure that everything you eat is guaranteed to be of traceable origin, is fresh and has helped a local producer or a farmer as the money goes into their hands rather than into a supermarket till.
“From a consumer’s perspective, surely, this is a no-brainer. It’s only a matter of spreading the word and the Belfast Network’s Sustainable Food Directory is the perfect vehicle for the job.”
For further information on the Belfast Food Network and to access the Sustainable Food Directory on 5 April please go to belfastfoodnetwork.org/about/