Why is local food so important?

The food we eat is directly related – at a local, national and international level –  to some of today’s most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.  Food is not only at the heart of some of our greatest problems but is also a vital part of the solution.

Our current food system is giving us:

  • huge amounts of food waste loss of small independent retailers and producers
  • cheap unhealthy food & expensive healthy food leading to a public health crisis of obesity and diet-related ill health
  • polluted rivers and soil erosion
  • carbon dioxide emissions,  through processing,  distribution and packaging
  • loss of habitats and the wildlife that depends on them
  • people losing their understanding of and sense of connection to their food

Read more about local food issues here

No one & everyone’s problem

Food Exeter started because despite food related issues being so important, they are not examined and acted on in any ‘joined up’ way at the local level. Different organisations focus on different pieces of the food jigsaw, but it’s no ones’ day job to overcome barriers to change, nor to  spot and exploit the many benefits of joined up working on food related issues.

Devon County Council Disposes of food waste

Public health aspects of food

Social services & people in poverty



 Exeter City Council Collects food waste

Environmental health

Public health interest

Community development and cohesion

Local economy & tourism

 Environment Agency  Flooding and soil erosion caused through some agricultural practices.

Pollution of streams and rivers through agricultural run-off

Local economy

 NHS commissioners and health practitioners  Food related ill health

Food for patients in hospitals

 Large employers (private and public sectors)  Procurement.

Assisting staff to buy healthy food

 Retailers, growers and processors  Their livelihood
 Charities and voluntary groups  Food Banks, soup kitchens, educational work
 Schools  Education on food, good eating, agriculture. School meals