Guiding principle 7: Securing local food supply

The future of local food supplies should be secured, by:

  • safeguarding and expanding the provision of allotments to meet future need, based on appropriate standards of allotment provision for population size
  • making best use of the opportunities, when planning new urban areas or urban extensions, to provide people with a choice to grow their own food, taking into account allotment provision and allowing a range of garden sizes
  • exploring the provision of food sources in the design and management of planting in the public realm
  • supporting pollinating insects through the enhancement of biodiversity

Why this is important for Devon and beyond

Devon has a strong foundation of local food producers who not only contribute to the local economy but also strengthen local distinctiveness and a sense of belonging. Green infrastructure planning can contribute to food, both by safeguarding existing assets and meeting future needs.

Food security is becoming an issue of increasing concern across the country. Between 2007-2013 food prices rose by 12.6% above inflation in the UK. A supply of fresh locally produced food is central to the aims of sustainable development and has a host of economic, social and environmental benefits.

Locally grown food is often cheaper than its shop bought counterpart and reduces the reliance on imported goods and the associated food miles and carbon emissions. Local food also has health and wellbeing benefits. Studies have shown the strong physical and mental benefits of working outside, particularly on allotments or small holdings. Other health benefits can also arise from having access to freshly grown fruit and vegetables which encourages a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Local food can play a crucial role in community development. Numerous projects centred on local food exist across Devon and bring local people together to grow local food. These projects not only give communities a chance to work together but they also have strong educational merits, enabling everyone to see the whole field to plate process.

More widely the provision of green infrastructure in the form of allotments and plants in green spaces can also provide a key source of food for wildlife and nectar for pollination that latter of which has been estimated to be worth £400 million to the UK.

Strategic priorities and approaches for working together across Devon

7.1: Ensure policies in local and neighbourhood plans:

a) allocate space for allotments, potentially in accordance with the National society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners standards which recommends 20 standard (300 sq. yd) plots per 1000 households

b) Set out minimum standards for garden provision in new development and when reviewing planning applications for development within existing gardens

7.2: Encourage local communities to audit the amount of ‘growing space’ available and use redundant space, rooftops and buildings for food production

7.3: Promote successful case studies demonstrating innovative solutions to food production achieved through local community action.

  • Your role

    Find out how you can get involved in the delivery of this guiding principle, whether you are an interested individual or community group or, a landowner or a public authority.

    Local authorities

    Planners: prepare planning policy to ensure that appropriate standards of allotment provision occurs within towns. The National society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners standards recommends 20 standard (300 sq. yd) plots per 1000 households.

    Public sector landowners and land managers: can make land available for community allotments where appropriate.

    Landowners, developers and design professionals

    Landowners: owners of land could, where demand exists, provide some of this for community use as allotments.

    Developers and designers: ensure that new developments provide for local food production, providing allotments where appropriate and using edible plants within landscaping designs.

    Communities and individuals

    Communities and individuals: can take charge of their local area and identify locations suitable for allotment provision.

    Communities can also discuss the suitability of taking on planting responsibilities in many towns across Devon with the local authority (the district council).

Tools and case studies to help you

Home Grown – Community Owned

HogCO is a growing network of nearly 70 community food projects in Devon, who work with communities to support local food projects. An array of Devon case studies and resources can be found through this network.

A lot more allotments 

The ‘A lot more allotments’ campaign provides information for those wishing to promote or establish new allotments in their local area.

Growing in the community – A good practice guide

The Local Government Association has produced a good practice guide for those managing allotments.