It comes as no surprise that cities across the UK are struggling to feed themselves sustainably. Healthy food is often inaccessible. Obesity is on the rise. Food supply chains are long and opaque, hiding unsustainable practises and pushing up prices. People are increasingly disconnected from their food, and many are disengaged from the work necessary to change these food systems.
12 months ago Impact Hub King’s Cross put out a call for teams passionate about creating sustainable food-related businesses that benefit their communities. Seeing a massive need but limited sector-specific support, we developed ‘Feeding the City’, a fully funded year-long programme that supports sustainable food startups. Successful applicants receive bursaries, access to advice from food experts, as well as training from our Impact Hub consultants, network and partners.
We support people with big ideas to make a change in our food systems, and help them develop solutions to their community’s most pressing problems.
We saw the results of this at a special edition of Food Talks, where we celebrated the culmination of the 2019 Feeding the City cohort. Joined by leaders in the ‘good food’ sector, our Feeding the City participants shared how they are creating real positive change in our urban food systems.
SEEDING AND SPROUTING
Many people choose dairy-free milk alternatives for environmental reasons – but most dairy-free milks are manufactured and packaged in a way that isn’t environmentally friendly.
Joshua Coppersmith-Heaven, of our 2019 cohort, wanted to fill this gap. Using tiger nuts – a sustainable, low-impact plant with the potential to be grown in the UK – he created Tigermylk. He uses glass bottles and metal caps that can be washed and reused, and limits the carbon footprint by operating locally.
Growing demand meant that Joshua needed to make the leap from home production to a commercial kitchen:
“The programme has helped massively. The support has allowed me to experiment, develop and take steps I simply wouldn’t have otherwise taken. […] I’ve received support and advice on how to make realistic progress.”
After nurturing our Feeding the City participant’s initial ideas, we moved on to the growing stage of the programme. Participants attended 5 business training weekend workshops, met with social investors, received grants and worked closely with our team of experts, and took the first steps towards starting their business.
Safiya Robinson experienced the world of veganism to be an exclusive one. While veganism is a healthy movement for people and planet, Black people are often not given space in this growing community. As a response, she launched Sisterwoman Vegan: an organisation that provides food to mindful, impactful organisations, and creates events that build a meaningful community.
Over the course of the programme, Sisterwoman Vegan has built up an impressive following. She has supplied plant-based food to clients from Impact Hub King’s Cross, all the way to British grime artist JME.
“The programme has been pivotal in the professional development of Sisterwoman Vegan. It helped me to tailor it to the London market, really understand my customer and what my social goals were.