What is VEG CITIES?
VEG CITIES is a feature campaign of Sustainable Food Cities, led by food and farming charity Sustain in partnership with the wider Peas Please initiative. The aim of VEG CITIES is to increase availability and consumption of vegetables. Food partnerships and/or local authorities can achieve this by working with different local businesses and organisations, from convenience stores to schools and local markets, through different actions from promoting vegetables to supporting local businesses and transforming catering and procurement.
Is VEG CITIES the same as Veg Power?
Veg Power is a national marketing campaign, part of the umbrella of Peas Please. Peas Please are creating a permanent advertising fund for vegetables – the Veg Power fund – a dedicated advertising fund to improve the image of vegetables for consumers. The initiative is backed by chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver. VEG CITIES will tap into campaigns such as Veg Power to radically alter our perceptions of vegetables, as well as support alternative local public marketing campaigns.
Why veg and not fruit as well?
Despite the mounting evidence of the beneficial health effects, we now buy about the same amount of veg as we did in the mid-1970s. Fruit purchasing (fresh and processed), on the other hand, has increased by over 50% over the same period, indicating that specific attention is needed on veg purchasing and consumption. And if you’re not sure if it’s a fruit or your veg e.g. a tomato – it won’t hurt to eat it. It will probably do you some good!
Are you prioritising veg that is produced sustainably?
We encourage all involved in VEG CITIES to prioritise more sustainably produced vegetables where possible. We appreciate that with some audiences there is a reluctance to spend more, but through our case studies we hope to show how this can be offset by serving less, wasting less or changing recipes and menus. This may include promoting certified veg that is more environmentally sustainable such as LEAF marque, Organic or Biodynamic, or considering the economic sustainability that may come from shortening supply chains, or supporting producers and suppliers who are paid a decent wage, rather than be encouraged to reduce prices or supply veg for free.
What support is available for VEG CITIES campaigns?
The VEG CITIES team can support you with relevant resources, advice, and in developing your local campaign plan, as well as helping to promote and track your achievements and news through our website, social media and other campaign communications. We organise meetings and webinars to train local campaign leads and coordinate national action. The website hosts assets for those involved including campaign logo, case studies, posters, activities and much more.
VEG CITIES is the featured campaign of the Sustainable Food Cities network until end of June 2019. There are currently over 50 Sustainable Food Cities around the UK. Each has a cross-sector food partnership with most involving the local authority, local businesses and organisations, academics and NGOs working together for better and healthier food. If your local area is not currently a member of the Sustainable Food Cities network, get in touch with Sustainable Food Cities to enquire about joining the network: www.sustainablefoodcities.org
Who is the target audience and who can get involved?
‘Partners’ are responsible for running the campaign locally, from setting up a core working group to engaging participants to take action, and coordinating a local vision for improving the provision and consumption of veg. They are typically led by one or more individuals working in a local authority or food partnership, working alongside other individuals and organisations interested in promoting and delivering the campaign locally.
‘Participants’ are organisations or businesses, e.g. schools, workplaces, hospitals, restaurants, retailers, community organisations etc., taking action to increase vegetable consumption and promote veg. If you have organisations or businesses who want to take action but don’t fit into one of the seven sectors, get in touch with us to see if there’s a way we can work with them.
The campaign is not directly targeting individuals, although it seeks to influence them through different settings in the sectors listed above. However, individuals can sign up through our website to our mailing list and opt to join as volunteers or supporters of their local campaigns. Individuals are encouraged to speak with their local restaurants, retailers, and other venues within their communities to take action through the VEG CITIES campaign. Individuals can also get involved in other existing Sustain campaigns such as the Children’s Food Campaign.
What kinds of actions/activities are involved?
There is a menu of options for each sector taking part, allowing the institution or business to choose the action that is best suited to them. Activities include promoting veg, increasing the lines of veg in retail, more veg out of school hours, setting up a food growing garden or network, getting 2 portions of veg in every meal, and much more.
Can participants take different actions to those suggested?
It’s important we keep an accurate record of all action on veg taking place in your local area, so we can see collectively what difference it is making nationally. Therefore we encourage partners and participants to record what action they are taking on the website, as well as the expected impact, e.g. number of meals influenced, number of people engaged. If a large number of participants in your local area are interested in taking a different set of actions, please get in touch with us, so we can consider refining and improving the proposed actions on the website so that all actions can be logged.