Gloucestershire County Council is to serve more locally sourced and plant-based food in its staff cafés and at council meetings and events, thanks to a motion by Green councillors.
The motion, calling for a sustainable catering and procurement policy, was proposed by Cllr Beki Hoyland (Green, Forest of Dean: Blakeney and Bream) and seconded by Cllr Chloe Turner (Green, Minchinhampton) and passed by a majority vote.
Cllr Hoyland explained that using sustainable food would help address not only environmental issues (industrial farming creates greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of the decline of wildlife) but also health issues (a poor diet leads to illness and obesity, often affecting lower-income people who can’t afford a healthy diet).
Cllr Hoyland said: “This council has declared a climate emergency, has targets to reduce obesity, and is part of a multi-agency ongoing response to the cost-of-living crisis. What we eat has an impact on all these problems, so changing what we eat and where it comes from has the potential to benefit the health of people and the environment. Using more locally produced food will also be good for the local economy and create jobs.”
Cllr Turner said: “I hope this will lead to the GCC caterers offering more seasonal food from local producers, and more plant-based options to cater for the ever-growing number of vegetarians and vegans and the increasing numbers of meat-eaters who would prefer to eat less meat. They would like to be confident that the meat served is locally produced and meets welfare and environmental standards while remaining affordable.”
She added: “It would also be great to see more information about the provenance of the food served at Shire Hall, as I know many staff and visitors would like to choose food that has been supplied by local businesses and farms.”
After consulting with staff on the proposed changes, the council will now try to include more plant-based options, good quality meat and more locally produced, seasonal and nutritious food, in line with the government’s Eatwell Guide. The council will also move to reusable and recyclable packaging and utensils, which should mean an end to the use of certain single-use plastics that have not been phased out yet.
It will work closely with its partners in the Gloucestershire Food and Farming Partnership and with the Sustainable Food Places scheme, which both aim to make local, healthy and sustainable food available to everyone.
Suppliers may be asked to commit to certain standards in the food they supply.
Pictured are the Green councillors on Gloucestershire County Council: left to right Chris McFarling (Forest of Dean: Sedbury), Beki Hoyland (Forest of Dean: Blakeney and Bream), Chloe Turner (Minchinhampton), Cate Cody (Tewkesbury).
- In other news from the same council meeting, on November 8, the council is to work out how much it would cost to provide free bus transport for veterans in the county, after a motion by the Greens.
And the council will look into ways of addressing traffic safety for the cattle on Minchinhampton and Rodborough commons, following a Labour motion supported by the Greens (see report by the BBC).