WE STAND FOR THE RIGHT TO FOOD.
At Kent we bring world-leading expertise in health and wellbeing, social justice, inequalities and conflict, sustainability, environment and natural resources. Through the Right to Food project we will bring this to bear on regional, national and global challenges.
One of our Signature Research Themes is Positive Environmental Futures which has recently begun its work to find solutions to some of the most urgent environmental issues facing the world today, including food inequality.
Kent is known as the Garden of England, with outstanding agricultural produce and acres of land dedicated to food production.
We are at the heart of developments to strengthen Kent as the leading region for the production and processing of high-value foods and plant-based compounds.
Through Growing Kent & Medway, we are introducing wide-ranging advances in horticulture that are shaping the way produce is grown and supplied. We use national funding to drive innovation, commercialisation and novel training programmes in the region, which is home to over 40% of UK high-value horticultural production and a key gateway to global markets.
The University will use these key strengths as well as its wider role in the region to harness the region’s strengths in food production, handling and distribution, working with industry partners to support innovation and sustainability in the production of affordable nutrient-rich foods and plant-based products.
The Kent Community Oasis Garden (KentCOG) is a multiuse space for students, staff and the local community run in partnership with East Kent Mind. It is a community resource to create a sustainability hub centred around growing food. It is mostly used to grow fruit and vegetables, with volunteers having input about which crops they would most like to try.
There is also a commercial side to the garden’s sustainability, with the café at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre being a ready market for the salads, tomatoes and other produce grown in the garden. This also helps the venue with its sustainability goals, drastically reducing overall food miles.
It has been exciting to work with staff and the students’ union to help create a healthy, sustainable university. Already we have seen more availability of subsidised meals, communal eating events and an expansion of land for food growing on campus."
While the Right to Food initiative is focussed on the systemic and structural aspects of our access to food, there are, however, close links between these and the current crisis around the cost of living and the price of basic foodstuffs. The project is working closely with students and staff to understand the impact of the crisis, working with suppliers to mitigate its impact, and supporting actions to support students and staff, including initiatives to provide low-cost nutritious meals, increase hardship funding and provide flexible catering packages.