Ambitious new project launched to tackle climate change in North Lancashire

The Closing Loops project is launched by FoodFutures, North Lancashire’s sustainable food network, to support community-led action and local initiatives to transform waste into a valuable resource. It aims to stimulate a zero-waste, circular and regenerative local economy.

Local residents and businesses are invited to join one of four public events across North Lancashire to celebrate the launch of the project and get involved.

FoodFutures, North Lancashire’s sustainable food network, is launching a five year project called Closing Loops funded through the National Lottery Community Fund. The project will take forward parts of ‘Our Food Futures: a community food strategy for North Lancashire’ supporting a vision for a local food system and wider local economy that is healthy, resilient and fair.

Closing Loops will develop new initiatives to reduce and repurpose waste, including food waste, whilst promoting healthy, seasonal and sustainable food and supporting regenerative enterprises. By the end of the five years the project will have reached beyond the initial focus on food, supporting initiatives tackling waste and sustainable consumption issues linked to materials such as textiles, plastics and packaging. The overarching project vision is to create a thriving local REconomy which regenerates both the environment and our communities, locally and globally.

Food is a critical place to start in tackling climate change. As Councillor Caroline Jackson, leader of Lancaster City Council, said in November 2021: “Food accounts for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions so must be at the forefront of the climate debate.” The way food is currently produced, distributed and wasted has huge negative impacts on both the environment and on society. The Closing Loops project will bring people together across North Lancashire to co-create ways of taking action at a local level to build a food system and local economy that is better for people and the planet.

The project team are keen to hear from organisations, enterprises and community groups with ideas to feed into the Closing Loops themes:

  • Growing, cooking and eating local, seasonal food

  • Composting, surplus food redistribution and reducing food waste

  • Reimagining a circular and regenerative local economy

“World cafe” celebration events 

To celebrate the launch of Closing Loops, FoodFutures is hosting four “world cafes” in the heart of communities around our district. A “world cafe” brings people together for short, focused conversations around a specific topic. The outcome of these conversations will shape the work of the Closing Loops project over the next five years. The world cafe events are also an opportunity for local residents and business owners to meet the project team and find out more about the opportunities offered by the project.

The conversations will be followed by a two course meal cooked by a community chef using locally produced, seasonal and surplus food. One of the aims of the Closing Loops projects is to celebrate local, seasonal, sustainable and fair food and to reduce the amount of food that is wasted. These aims will be highlighted in the creation of the menu for the evening.

The Closing Loops team is inviting everyone who lives, works and eats in North Lancashire to join for a pleasant evening of great food and inspiring conversations. There will be a series of four world cafes in locations across North Lancashire: At the Gregson Centre in Lancaster, Carnforth Civic Hall, the Victoria Institute in Caton and a venue to be confirmed in Morecambe. People living and working in North Lancashire are invited to join the event nearest to them.

Along with the world cafe events, a recipe challenge will be launched inviting chefs and passionate cooks from across North Lancashire  to send in their favourite One Planet recipes and to share what they think makes it a recipe fit for a One Planet Menu.

More ways to get involved 

There are plenty of ways to get involved in the project already include volunteering for gleaning events (harvesting produce that would otherwise go to waste), starting community composting schemes or getting trained in composting skills, running community cooking skills sessions, starting a regenerative enterprise, writing for the community food magazine THRIVE, supporting Lancaster’s seasonal markets and more.

Anyone interested in getting involved can find out more and get in touch through the project page on the FoodFutures website: https://foodfutures.org.uk/about-us/collaborative-projects/closing-loops/

The Closing Loops project is delivered in partnership by Eggcup, Global Link, Lancaster District Community & Voluntary Solutions (LDCVS), LESS (Lancaster District) CIC, Scientists for Global Responsibility, and Shared Future CIC.

Quotes

“We’re delighted to be part of the Closing Loops Project. This work is important to us because as the umbrella body for voluntary organisations across the Lancaster District we exist to support our members to support their communities. Closing Loops means people will get together to think about how the district’s economy can support their aspirations, take positive action in their own communities to develop sources of nourishing, local and sustainable food, and create a legacy by nurturing the skills we need for a better future.” Nick Smith, Lancaster District Community Voluntary Solutions

“The challenge of climate change and the current cost of living crisis can feel overwhelming. Whilst we need governments to take positive action to tackle these challenges, there are lots of things we can do locally that can make a real difference. The Closing Loops project was made possible thanks to National Lottery funding. It seeks to reduce the climate impact of our food system, whilst improving people’s access to good and healthy food. It also aims to do this whilst building a local economy that is less wasteful and supports communities across North Lancashire and our environment to thrive. We’d love for you to join us at one of our world cafe events this autumn. We also invite you to look at other ways you can get involved via the FoodFutures website”

Rachel Marshall, Closing Loops Project Coordinator at LESS (Lancaster) CIC

“Sharing food together is at the heart of any community. Shared Future is a social enterprise set up in Lancaster District in 2009 and we’re pleased to be involved in the Closing Loops partnership. Helping, in a small way, to grow the resilience of the whole community in the face of massive changes that will come from the climate change emergency. It’s so important that everyone has access to affordable, high quality, sustainable and locally produced food.”
Jez Hall, Shared Future CIC


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