CAST theatre, Doncaster will be home to the Doncaster Food Conference 2019 entitled:  ‘Food Glorious Food’

CAST theatre doncaster
CAST theatre Doncaster is the venue for Doncaster Food Conference 2019

Doncaster Food Conference 2019 kicks off on 13th March 2019 at 9.15 and goes on until 4.00pm. This conference will be exploring what food production, food insecurity and nutrition is all about within the Doncaster area.

Vivienne Neale Doncaster Food Conference 2019 coordinator says it’s important in turbulent times to start  investigating what a truly democratic food system might look like. ‘We are all more aware of the complex decisions we all make around food and it’s time to talk about how a more joined up approach could help all of us. ‘she says.  ‘There is much confusion around everything to do with food. We worry about what’s in our food, how much red meat we should include in our diet, food miles, nutrition etc. In addition there’s a huge disconnect that some communities have with food. There is a lot happening in the Doncaster area and we thought it would be a positive idea to collaborate and see what else we might achieve as a collective. It’s no coincidence that the Doncaster Food Conference 2019 is running on the same day that TV doctor Michael Moseley is in town. He is coming  to talk food and diet in a talk called Trust Fast Health.

Dr Michael Moseley

Doncaster Good Food Conference 2019 might just kickstart future positive collaborations

Good Food Doncaster has been set up to promote the concept that everyone should have access to good food. ‘There is a correlation between locations with lots of take-aways and minimal access to fresh fruit and vegetables and increasing obesity. No one’s health should be compromised for living in this type of location. Our aim is to bring fresh fruit and vegetables to communities. This is instead of them having to spend money travelling to access nutritious food. We have seen the closure of local bakers, butchers and greengrocers and this means many places are what we might term food deserts. Talking about these problems in an event like Doncaster Food Conference 2019 and cooperating to make a difference is just the start we believe.”

Supermarkets may not be the solution we had all banked on

The first pre and post- supermarket study of a food desert in Leeds showed that nearly half of the food desert residents shopped at the newly-built store. However, only modest improvements in diet were recorded. Also back  In 2014, a study in Philadelphia uncovered some interesting conclusions.Yes, the introduction of a new supermarket  did improve perceptions of an area. It also improved the  perceptions around easy access to food. However, what is pertinent is that it did not significantly change local eating habits. There is much more work to be done around this. What suggestions do you have about improving eating habits in Doncaster? Do let us know.

Surplus Food is another big issue to be discussed at Doncaster Food Conference 2019

The Real Junk Food Project
The Junk Food Project was only established in 2015

“In addition we are very keen to decrease the amount of food that is wasted. The Real Junk Food project now based in Cleveland St, Doncaster is leading the way by using surplus ingredients to create fantastic food. This is just one example of the innovation and creativity evident in Doncaster. Bentley Urban Farm has recently won a sustainability award and we want to see even more innovative projects springing up over the next few months. The renovated Wool Market is also opening its door in March and is aiming to be open for events, social eating and a wide range of exciting new food offerings.”

The Junk Food Project Doncaster
The Junk Food Project Doncaster has now opened

We believe there are many potential solutions that have already been trialled elsewhere. For example : community gardens, farmers markets and pocket markets are visible and local solutions to tackling food deserts. These kind of initiative may well reach people who might not otherwise purchase fresh fruit or vegetables.  There is scope to develop community food markets that may well help in targeting vulnerable populations. During the Good Food Doncaster Conference 2019 we hope to make plans and start connecting interested parties.

Mobile shops and fresh produce stands

From the 1950s, mobile shops were a common solution to limited geographical access to food throughout the UK. Interestingly within the United States,  mobile shops have been increasing. Produce stands and produce vans are also increasing as part of local responses to food deserts.

Do we need more food on the go?

A produce van initiative called Garden on the Go – makes 16 weekly stops and sells produce at an affordable price. Most importantly it  accepts benefits as payment. This increases access to healthy fruits and vegetables as inclusive and convenient as possible. I Also, in Chicago, Fresh Moves, a non-profit made up of food activists, is running a mobile produce  bus that moves around the city visiting neighbourhoods that are considered food deserts. In 8 months of operation in 2017 reached 7,000 customers.

Therefore 2019 feels very much like a time when we should be discussing food availability, surplus food, nutrition and even shopping locally. This Doncaster Food Conference 2019 is such an opportunity and the public are welcome to join the debate. For tickets please go through the CAST website or drop into the box office.

For more information please contact CAST  after 1st February or send us a message through the Good Food Doncaster website now.