Coproducing a Food Strategy

November 9, 2012

We have used ‘appreciative enquiry’ to find out about how a new Lambeth sustainable and healthy food strategy is being coproduced.

Why coproduction?

  • Demand for a food strategy has come from citizens via the huge interest in food-growing. Incredible Edible Lambeth, a loose network of food growing projects, is represented in the Food Partnership
  • Coproduction allows citizens to take a leadership role
  • The Council has an ambition for the food strategy to be an exemplar of a co-produced strategy

What is different?

  • The Council is not leading the process – it is a partner (although the Council is providing some resources – funding from Invest to Save fund)
  • We are expecting the food strategy to be written over a long time, and that untraditionally, some actions may happen before the strategy is agreed
  • The first focus is to form a Partnership working group (often strategy is written first and then partnership set up to deliver the strategy)

What coproduction tools are you using?

  • Appreciative Inquiry – got people to tell stories, amazing ‘project’ food brought into event – very inspiring
  • Asset Mapping/Activity Mapping
  • Participatory Appraisal (essentially talking to people in the street)
  • World Cafe-style workshops and events
  • Social networking
  • Use of networks
  • Visits

What is working?

  • We are building a strong partnership / collaborative
  • We are building up a body of evidence
  • Events have been well attended and they have created a ‘buzz’

 What are the benefits?

  • Buy-in from the partners so far is very strong
  • We are bringing in new partners
  • We seem to have a high degree of credibility

What isn’t working so far?

  • We have had to keep the working group small to start with – this doesn’t feel very open and cooperative
  • Writing the strategy is likely to take a long time – is this a problem?
  • We don’t have a very clear ‘mission’ statement – communicating what a food strategy might do outside of the council or NHS is difficult
  • It is difficult to reach decisions because we want a lot of change and to affect a lot of different groups

What would you do differently next time?

  • Ensure that Incredible Edible Lambeth (citizen group) properly resourced. They have had to secure some external funding for capacity building to get themselves into a position to be an equal ‘partner’.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Lambeth Food Partnership please contact Sue Sheehan

Lambeth Poly stop motion construction video

July 19, 2012

Please take a moment to enjoy the stop motion film of the tunnel construction. The film is excellent for training and inspiration. When we come to spread the word, this will help people visualise what’s involved, and aim for making a ‘raising the barn’ event of of their build. We commissioned Tulse Hill Estate resident film maker Eduard Vijulie.

We’re looking for a composer to write a track for the film:  cheerful that captures the rythm of the making and the pulse of the sun, as well as the feeling of progress. Please spread the word via your social media. Follow us @lambethpoly and on Project Dirt and on flickr

it takes two: local resident Carlos and TRA chair Laud, got the doors on

you can’t buy these: Carlos was comissioned to make this tamper and multi-dibber set

nice work and a sunny day – Pamela (left) from Cressingham Estate is key volunteer

Peter Keenan from generous tunnel/materials sponsor Veolia dropped off seed trays and compost, and other goodies such as seaweed extract (growth stimulator) and capillary matting. Budget and payment all on track. High Trees project (Margaret Jarret), the grant holder have kindly set up the system set up for paying invoices.

Residential involvement is set up on 3 levels:

Friend – say hello, keep an eye out and come to informal growing workshops (first one held last weekend at the Action Day; we’re getting some nice friends!)

Volunteer – join the rota to help maintain the tunnel (emerging, enough at least for this week)

Trainee – job training for commercial veg growing (have one firm candidate – more needed – volunteers may morph into this)

Documents written: risk assessment, health and safety guidelines, registration with Lambeth Food Safety, aims of the project for volunteers, training schedule, first training session.

Documents drafted: training schedule, and first volunteers have been inducted. Beginning to compile training materials, like this demonstrating good sowing technique (link to flickr set)

Action Day helpers sowing our first crop: coriander

batch operations – so great to be growing crops at last

Outstanding issues

  • license for land use
  • installing water butts
  • lockable storage
  • recruiting trainees
  • chairs and table to help for training and meeting
  • photocopying/laminating
  • reporting last week’s knife slash to police
  • building of staging

Veolia Environmental Trust funding

May 2, 2012

Veolia are encouraging applications to their environmental trust, which supports environmental and community projects by awarding grants through the Landfill Communities Fund.  Projects supported include improving community halls, creating new play areas and skate parks, and restoring green spaces.  There is also a fund for “creative, adventurous, exciting and ambitious ideas that will make a difference to people’s lives”.

Their website clearly explains the funding process and there is a phone number to ask questions. The next funding round requires submissions by 3 August 2012 with funds to be released by mid-Dec 2012.

London Cycling Campaign

March 8, 2012

Local groups can bid to TfL for up to £5,000 to set up a cycling project. Projects funded in the past include bike recycling projects for young people, after-school cycling clubs, and cycle training for women.

The deadline to apply is Monday 19 March at 5pm.

More info can be found at

Capital Growth Special Grants – Reminder

March 7, 2012

Image Community groups have one week left to apply for a small grant of up to £300 to help them develop their community food-growing space. Applications are completed online and for further information and a link to start the application process please go to and follow the instructions.