Newcastle’s food professionals and policy makers met last week to chew over the future of food in the city.
The Newcastle Food Charter was launched at an open event at Blackfriars Restaurant on Wednesday July 17. The Food Charter’s aim is to promote Newcastle’s vibrant food culture and tackle food related issues.
The Food Charter is part of the Food Newcastle initiative, which is being led by Jamie Sadler, managing director of Newcastle-based social enterprise Food Nation, who set up the Food Newcastle group in partnership with public, private and Community Sector food professionals.
The Food Charter looks at a broad range of issues including health and wellbeing, sustainability, the food chain, food in the community, and the local economy. Anyone – individuals or businesses – can sign up to the charter’s objectives and guiding principles. By signing up, they will pledge to make a change around their approach to food, with the aim of helping Newcastle to become a healthier city.
Jamie Sadler said: “We’ve worked closely with Newcastle City Council and the area’s most influential food experts to create the Food Charter. Everyone involved is very passionate about Newcastle and committed to creating new and exciting developments in food culture. We hope the Food Charter will inspire people to make a change – however small – in their day-to-day attitudes to food.
“At Food Nation, we work to educate people about good food through innovative food education activities, cookery courses and bespoke health, nutrition and catering services, so we’re very aware of the brilliant work already happening in Newcastle – and we know the importance of continuing to improve the health of those who live here.”
The issue of obesity will provide a key focus within the charter, as the North East has some of the highest obesity rates in the country. The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) found that, in 2012, when observing obesity in reception class children aged 4-5, Newcastle was the worst local authority area in England (14.5%) whilst for Year 6 classes aged 10-11, Newcastle was the 10th worst area (25%).
Jamie added: “Obesity costs the NHS an estimated £4.2 billion annually*, and these statistics about young children in our area emphasise the need for continued action.
“For this reason, the Food Charter aims to ensure that everyone has access and knowledge to eat and enjoy affordable and healthy food. One of the charter’s objectives is to work closely with food providers, manufacturers, retailers and caterers to provide good, safe, sustainable food to promote the well-being of the people they serve.”
Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant and member of the Food Newcastle Steering Group said: “This is a great step forward in terms of promoting the wealth of talent and experience in Newcastle’s culinary scene, and we’re delighted that Blackfriars is involved in the launch of what will be an invaluable source of food-related information and advice for the city.”