Regional authorities have recently come to recognize the importance of ensuring that Greater Manchester becomes a green city-region. In recognition of this,  ‘Green Summit’ which will be held in Manchester on 18th March 2018, with the purpose of setting up at regional level the ‘Green Charter. This document will detail steps towards achieving carbon neutrality. 

Consequently, Food Chains 4EU Greater Manchester peer review takes place during an important period for the region and community, as several  listening events are scheduled to allow views to be heard and to support the consultation period. The findings of the peer review  will be presented and discussed during  a food-themed listening event in February 2018, organized by the regional authorities.

One of the focus themes of the peer review is related to food procurement. At national and regional level, there are strategical policies that sustain social values when making choices regarding procurement. But, when referring to sustainable food procurement, this movement is largely led from the grassroots by NGOs and alliances that have set up campaigns and award schemes to encourage organisations, cities and city-regions to develop more sustainable food procurement habits. 

A good practice example  to this respect, is  Food For Life (FFL) with its associated award scheme for healthy, sustainable school meals. Nationally Oldham is a leading example of a local authority implementing sustainable food procurement. Oldham Council Education Catering Team – that will be presented in the Peer Review process – was the first in the North West of England to be awarded the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for the quality and provenance of the meals served. 

So, one of the expectations of the hosts regarding the findings of the peer review experts is to consider how the Oldham school meals achievements could be scaled-up or replicated at regional level.