College helps county attain coveted sustainable food status

A field worked on by agricultural students at Brooksby's college campusA field worked on by agricultural students at Brooksby's college campus
A field worked on by agricultural students at Brooksby's college campus
Agricultural initiatives at SMB College Group’s Brooksby site have helped Leicestershire attain a coveted honour for the way it promotes healthy, sustainable, and local food.

The Leicestershire County Council-run Good Food Leicestershire scheme, which works with cross-sector partners to tackle issues from reducing food poverty to diet related ill-health, has been given a silver award from Sustainable Food Places.

It’s a project which supports people, communities and businesses across the county to access healthy, local nutritious food, and over 50 projects and organisations, from farms to restaurants, were mentioned in the nomination.

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Previously a bronze award winner in 2022, the Sustainable Food Places’ Silver Award was given to Leicestershire for having a long-term food plan in place and who make significant positive change on a range of key food issues.

Agriculture students and staff in a field at Brooksby's college campusAgriculture students and staff in a field at Brooksby's college campus
Agriculture students and staff in a field at Brooksby's college campus

Judges praised community and district led-projects, including innovations at the Brooksby college site and community fridges in Coalville, Hinckley, Market Harborough and Wigston Magna, which have prevented hundreds of tonnes of food from going to waste. There is also a mobile pantry planned in Melton to help rural areas with food insecurity.

Alex Gray, countryside management lecturer at SMB College Group’s Brooksby campus, said: “It’s great to see the college farm transitioning towards a more regenerative mindset.

"Over the past few years, we have been establishing a 20-acre regenerative grazing project which features alleys of adaptively ‘mob grazed’ herbal leys.

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"These rich, and species-diverse pastures are interspersed by avenues of mixed hardwood and fruiting tree species.

"This field has become the most productive grazing field at the college and a noticeable haven for wildlife.”

Councillor Louise Richardson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at County Hall, said: “Receiving the Silver accolade is a big step in the county’s food journey, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making the county a greener and healthier place to live, work and eat.

“I hope this recognition will encourage more people and organisations to get involved.”

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The Stockyard, in Melton Mowbray, was also highlighted, along with the Food and Drink Forum, who support food manufacturers to make healthier and more sustainable products, for their contributions.

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