Plymouth has launched a sustainable food charter to give local suppliers more opportunities to supply the city's schools, hospitals and other public institutions.
With almost 20% of the £5m potential public sector spend in Plymouth going on ready meals for the NHS, the charter has identified "real opportunities" to increase the amount of dairy, meat and fruit and vegetables sourced locally.
The city-wide partnership, launched at Devonport Guildhall last month, includes the University of Plymouth,NHS Plymouth,Plymouth City Council and a number of other private and third sector organisations.
Jenny Bushrod, director of sustainability and procurement at the university, chaired the launch event and described the charter as "an exciting project and partnership, which really has the power to transform Plymouth's food culture".
Brad Pearce from Plymouth City Council's Education Catering Services gave evidence of how the aims of the charter could be achieved. The city's school meals service, which now has its highest meal take-up figures for five years, was transformed through work with local suppliers and was awarded the Food for Life Catering Mark in February.
Local businesses were able to sign up on the day to the Sell2Plymouth web portal, which gives small to medium-sized businesses access to Plymouth's public sector contracts.
By Janie Stamford
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