A pioneering Middlesbrough food project has received a prestigious national accolade.
The Middlesbrough Food Partnership have been awarded Sustainable Food City (SFC) Silver award - the highest award given in the country so far, and Middlesbrough are now in select company alongside London, Bristol and Brighton & Hove.
The achievement builds on 2017's SFC Bronze award, recognising Middlesbrough's joined-up, holistic approach to food and delivering significant positive change.
Sustainable Food Cities is a national network of more than 50 locations that share challenges, explore practical solutions and develop best practice on key food issues to drive positive food change.
By developing a cross-sector partnership of local public agencies, businesses, academics and NGOs, they're committed to making healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic local communities.
The Middlesbrough Food Partnership has been an active SFC member since its formation in 2010, developing an effective whole food systems approach, while helping to address a range of pressing social, economic and environmental challenges.
The SFC panel felt Middlesbrough's Silver application reflected ‘a fantastic breadth and depth' of work, and set an example for others to follow.
Sustainable Food Cities Associate Director Tom Andrews said: "Middlesbrough are driving change and transforming the town through food, and this is fundamentally how towns and cities should work.
"Their dynamic Food Partnership are delivering an immense breadth and depth of work, connecting all of this work right across the food system.
"Middlesbrough has a wealth of good food policies and are ahead of the game on transforming catering and procurement and ahead of the game in tackling food waste. Their support for healthy and sustainable food economy through the Growing Middlesbrough initiative is second to none.
"It has a really strong multi-agency approach to tackling food poverty through the Food Power Alliance and is delivering an array of public facing campaigns and a huge range of public events and activities.
"It really feels different in Middlesbrough."
Mark Fishpool, Chair of the Middlesbrough Food Partnership, said: "This is a significant achievement for Middlesbrough and the Food Partnership.
"There is a phenomenal amount of hard work being undertaken by the partners to deliver sustainable, healthy and affordable food in Middlesbrough.
"As well as recognising the achievements to date, this award provides impetus for expanding the work further in the future."