Food in Oldham has the power to change lives, through enabling communities to thrive; raising our aspirations; establishing infrastructure; and innovative ways of working which consider the impact of the food system as a whole. Good food in Oldham works to establish a resilient food system that delivers food security for all; tackling inequalities, diet-related ill-health and the environmental impact of the food we produce and consume, whilst at the same time building prosperity through local wealth-building making Oldham a great place to live, work and play.

The Oldham Partnership’s new food strategy sets out how we will achieve our vision as a collective whole and the role of people and place in this transformation.

Governance will be through the Oldham Food Partnership board which will be made up of representatives from the 3 key themes of the programme, across the public, private and VCFSE sectors. Colleagues involved around the table will be a mix of strategic leaders and decision makers but with input from the wider partnership to ensure the programme is grounded in its application, it is diverse and inclusive.

There are 3 themes to the Strategy, Made in Oldham, Food Security and Get Oldham Growing. The FOOD CHAINS project has already heavily influenced the Made in Oldham Theme. This will focus on the development of a diverse and prosperous good food culture in Oldham. By building the food economy from farm to fork, nurturing and developing the sector the aim to improve local wealth, improving lifestyles and livelihoods both now and in the future.

Some of the actions include the development of a publicly recognisable brand, campaign and digital resource ecommerce platform for ‘Made in Oldham’. We saw a similar model in Almere and in Maramures. In developing a targeted food business and enterprise support programme giving businesses access to industry specific advice Oldham is aiming to Improve existing business but also encourage new enterprise development which are fit for the future. This will be supported by the Food Innovation Fund that was included in the Oldham and Greater Manchester Regional Action Plan.

One of Oldham’s first pilot projects from the Food Innovation Fund was the Northern Roots Beekeeping Hub. We are now seeing the production of the first commercial products such as beeswax.