Thank you for your interest. Future Food Beacon closed in July 2023 and these pages will not be further updated. We thank all those involved in making the Beacon a success. The University of Nottingham Food Systems Institute launched in Aug 2023 please visit their webpages for more information.

Nottingham Good Food Partnership (NGFP) collaboration 

Social eating in Nottingham

Photo by Marsha Smith

Nottingham has an expanding social eating movement, with community groups putting on events all around the city. Social eating can be described as group, public mealtimes where a variety of people meet to enjoy an affordable, freshly-cooked meal that is made from supermarket food surpluses. Social eating is beneficial to health, wellbeing and community cohesion because it:

  • Supports the development of food socialisation and food literacy;
  • extends food choice, accessibility and availability;
  • facilitates new ‘performances of care’ and social bonding beyond traditional familial relations.

Social eating also has a number of environmental benefits:

  • it can ensure that edible food does not enter landfill unnecessarily;
  • it promotes carbon-neutral food practices through larger-scale, one-pot cooking, thereby conserving fuel, water and food resources.

The Future Food Beacon obtained a UKRI Research England QR impact fund grant and used it to fund Nottingham Good Food Partnership (NGFP) to explore how social eating might align with Nottingham City Council’s (NCC) Carbon Neutrality 2028 (CN2028). 

The Future Food Beacon supports the Social Eating City concept. If adopted as part of the food-strand of the CN2028 plan, it could:

  • contribute to improvements in local health;
  • widen access to low-carbon, affordable and nutritious food;
  • support local biodiversity;
  • maintain and expand green and growing spaces;
  • and create pride in a vibrant local city food culture.

The research adviser to the project, Marsha Smith, now sits on the CN 2028 Consumption committee, where she continues to promote social eating.

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