Why Sustainable Food North West?

The lack of sustainability of our current food system has been increasingly recognised over recent years at all levels, from global to local. The North West of England is just one of many regions facing increasing pressure and scrutiny over its capacity to feed its inhabitants in a sustainable manner.

Although the North West has some distinctive and thriving foodways, like many other regions, it also faces enormous challenges: Food poverty and diet-related ill health are on the rise; available arable land/soil is not fully utilised; food procurement has massive ecological impacts and fails to invest sufficiently in the local economy; and food waste continues at an unacceptable level.

However, food is not only at the heart of some of our greatest problems, but is also a vital part of the solution. Communities at different scales across the UK are recognising the pivotal role that food plays in addressing the social, environmental and economic challenges that we face. Positive transformations in how we relate to food are taking shape, supported by a range of networks and other initiatives that take a joined-up approach to food sustainability by address issues such as obesity, ill-health, poverty, waste, climate change, economic development and environmental damage.

Our research collaboration aims to contribute knowledge and evidence that can contribute to and support positive change, achieving tangible social, economic and environmental impacts.


A third of the world’s entire food supply could be saved by reducing waste – or enough to feed 3 billion people”

Tristram Stuart

“The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012-2014.”


“13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK. Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income”

Trussell Trust

“Over the next 20 years, the number of obese adults in [the UK] is forecast to soar by a staggering 73% to 26 million people. According to health experts, such a rise would result in more than a million extra cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”