Poplar HARCA and Women’s Environmental Network (Wen) have won a significant grant from the Big Lottery to support local communities to take action on climate change. Working with local residents and community organisations, this ambitious new project will focus on reducing the environmental impacts of our food system.
Just FACT (a Just Food and Climate Transition) focuses on food because the food system, including farming, transport and packaging, is responsible for around 20% of climate emissions and it is an easy, every day way for people to engage in reducing emissions. Whether it is through cooking it, eating it, buying it or growing it, food affects everyone, and it affects the climate too.
As well as its amazing potential to bring people together around climate solutions, food is at the heart of many of Tower Hamlets’ residents’ greatest problems. The COVID-19 crisis has starkly highlighted this as more people struggle to get the food they need, many families can’t afford healthy enjoyable meals, and more people than ever are reliant on food banks. The project will work with local residents to design solutions that don’t just reduce emissions, but also improve the wellbeing of local communities.
The key idea of a ‘just’ transition is that both the end goal, and the process to get there, must have justice for our communities at its heart. The project aims to amplify the voices of those currently hit hardest by injustices in our food system to design solutions and take action.
Beth Summers, Co-Director at Wen, said: “In our experience, food has a unique power to bring people together across differences to gain knowledge, skills and confidence to take practical and impactful action to reduce emissions and improve lives.”
Maddy Evans, Local Food Coordinator at Wen, said: “Doing everything we can to prevent a climate crisis is so important, but it is also vital to create a more resilient food system that works better for the happiness, health and wellbeing of our communities. That is why we’re calling this project Just FACT – A Just Food and Climate Transition – because we believe that any action we take on climate change must also have justice at its heart.”
Babu Bhattacherjee, Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods at Poplar HARCA, said: “We have supported the total idea of this project from Day 1 of its inception and are very honoured to be one of its strategic partners. Being involved in Just FACT is consistent with our ethos as a social housing provider and we are pleased to be one of its movers.”
The project will begin in October, with activities including composting, community meals, workshops, training, expert advice, food growing, food co-ops, climate markets, conferences, youth programmes, plastic reduction schemes, cooking classes and lots more.Find out more