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Local resident asks Lincoln City Council to ensure food at council events is plant-based

  • On 28/11/23 at the Full Council of Lincoln City Council, a local resident and supporter of the Plant-Based Councils campaign [1] asked the council to ensure that all food and drink provided at council meetings and events is 100% plant-based, as the logical and necessary next step after declaring a climate emergency.

  • Jessica Bunn said this would be a positive and forward thinking step, bringing the council’s food policy into line with other climate aware policies.

  • The response from Councillor Bob Bushell was that many climate related internal and external City Council events since 2022 have been fully plant-based. He also indicated that they are working with other teams in the council, third party caterers in council buildings, and other local businesses for them to all also promote plant-based food.

  • This follows councils such as Oxfordshire, Cambridge and Exeter City committing to plant-based catering.

Lincoln resident, Jessica Bunn, attended a full council meeting for Lincoln City Council on Tuesday 28/11/23 [2], to ask the council to lead by example and ensure any catering provided at internal council events is plant-based.

Mx Bunn asked a question at the meeting at the Guildhall, requesting that the council follows other councils around the country in promoting healthy plant-based eating as the logical and necessary next step after having declared a climate emergency.

Jessica Bunn submitted a written question in advance of the meeting, which was read out at the meeting on Tuesday [3]:
“The science is clear that meat and dairy are major contributors to the climate and ecological emergencies. Other councils, for example Oxfordshire County, Oxford City, Cambridge City, Exeter City and Lewisham Borough, are ensuring that all food served at internal events is plant-based, and I’d like Lincoln to do the same.”
“Therefore, my question is, given the climate emergency and Lincoln’s stated aim to reduce their emissions, will the City of Lincoln Council ensure that all food and drink provided at internal events is plant-based by default, as other councils have done?”
“Even if this only applies to refreshments at a very small number of events per year, it will be a small step that sends a powerful message and is the logical and necessary next step after having declared a climate emergency.”

In response, Councillor Bob Bushell said at the meeting:
“I think you probably are aware from your question that the City of Lincoln Council takes addressing the challenge of climate change very seriously. That’s why we passed a climate change emergency motion back in July 2019, and addressing the challenge of climate change is one of our five strategic aims.”
“I can confirm that all City Council internal and external events as part of Climate Hope Lincoln and the Lincoln Climate Commission throughout 2022 and 2023 have served only a plant-based menu for lunch and light refreshments, which we will continue to do in the future. We are committed to working with other teams in the council to encourage them to provide plant-based food and drink by default. The council have signed up to Food for the Planet 'Every Mouthful Counts' campaign and are working through the actions which you can view on the Lincoln webpage here… []”
“As part of our commitment to this campaign we are working with third party catering outlets that provide food and drink in council owned buildings to increase the range of plant-based items on the menu. We are encouraging local businesses that supply plant-based food and drink to register on the Every Mouthful Counts website to help promote them and encourage more businesses to do the same. Thank you.”

Jessica asked a supplementary question to Cllr Bushell of whether he would be willing to meet with them to discuss how the policy could be further extended, to which he agreed.

After the meeting, Jessica said:
“When Lincoln City Council said they had been serving fully plant-based meals from 2022 at some of their internal and external events I was absolutely thrilled, I’d like to personally thank Councillor Bushell for this important work. It is now just a small but necessary step to extend this to all teams within the City Council so that they can join the other councils around the UK that are leading the way on climate action through 100% plant-based catering.”

The Plant-Based Councils campaign believes that local authorities have an opportunity and a duty to lead the way in normalising plant-based eating, which is necessary if we are to tackle the climate emergency. Councils can reduce their own emissions by procuring more plant-based foods, and can address both the health and cost-of-living crises by encouraging residents to adopt healthier and cheaper ways of eating.

Similar questions have been asked of other councils across the UK and motions have been carried by progressive councils such as Exeter City Council [4] which, in December last year, voted to serve only plant-based foods at council meetings and events. Exeter City Council also plans to introduce more plant-based options onto menus at council-run external sites such as leisure centres, and to showcase plant-based foods at external events.

Councillors on Oxford City Council last month unanimously supported a motion which will ensure that all food provided in internal catering is plant-based. The council will also work with local farmers to support their move to create more plant-based produce, and establish a plant-based free food service, to help tackle the cost of living crisis.

This follows the successful motion that was passed at Oxfordshire County Council in 2021 to serve fully plant based food and drink at all catered meetings and events [5].


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[1] The Plant-Based Councils campaign aims to address the climate emergency starting with the food on our plates. Working with councils across the UK to encourage them to lead the way in the switch from emission heavy foods to plant-based ones that are better for health, our planet and reducing the impact from the cost of living crisis.

[4] Exeter City Council votes to serve 100% plant-based food at catered meetings

[5] Oxfordshire County Council votes to serve fully plant-based food at all council-catered events

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