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Right to Food Day: Campaigners’ push for National Food Strategy inclusion

Food poverty campaigners declare national Right to Food Day and make nationwide plea to back human rights in the National Food Strategy

Food poverty campaigners have termed June 28 as national Right to Food day in a last push for a legal right to food to be included in the upcoming second phase of the National Food Strategy.

Restaurateur Dimbleby is set to publish the final part of the ‘farm to fork’ investigation into England’s food system next month.

Ian Byrne, Liverpool West Derby MP, and fan activist group Fans Supporting Foodbanks want their submission to be included in the strategy in the belief a legal right to food will bring an “achievable, tangible and legally binding route out of food poverty for millions”.

Writing to Dimbleby on Friday ahead of the national Right to Food day, Byrne said: “Our submission to you in March 2021 included five key ‘asks’ which we believe, if adopted by government, provide an achievable, tangible and legally binding route out of food poverty for millions of people in the UK.

“I again urge you on behalf of the Right To Food campaign to implement these asks in the National Food Strategy and to start to challenge the unfairness and injustice we see in our nation.”

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The campaign has asked Dimbleby to take into account five asks on universal free school meals, community kitchens, reasonable portions in benefits and wages, ensured food security and independent enforcement.

The Right to Food campaign behind those asks has grown in stature since it launched in November 2020 with a host of supporters joining the call for a legal right to be brought into law.

More than 53,000 people signed a petition backing the idea, while food poverty campaigner and England footballer Marcus Rashford as well as Liverpool and Everton football clubs have also shown their support for the plan.

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Trade unions, charities and football fan food bank groups across the country have shown their support while more than 20 towns and cities have signed up to the Right to Food campaign, including Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Brighton and Hove.

With time running out before the National Food Strategy is published, Dave Kelly, one of the co-founders behind Fans Supporting Foodbanks, has called for everyone who has supported the campaign to back the Right to Food day on June 28 via social media under the hashtag #RighttoFood.

Football fan food bank groups are also being encouraged to head out to local landmarks with banners to promote the campaign.

“It is our view that it is simply unacceptable for millions of people to continue to go hungry in what is, after all, the sixth wealthiest country on the planet,” said Kelly, national chair of Fans Supporting Foodbanks told The Big Issue.

“We want to show the enormity of what is going on from all of the respective groups from right across the country, whether it be football clubs or local authorities. It’s not a red or blue thing, it’s not a scouse thing, it’s across the whole of the country.

“We often refer to Fans Supporting Foodbanks and the Right to Food campaign as a thing of beauty but when you look at the enormity of what we’ve done over the five or six years, this was never just about us collecting food, it was about putting food insecurity on the political agenda.”

Here’s how they say you can show your support:

  1. Take a photograph of yourself or your team holding a piece of A4 paper that says ‘I / We support the Right To Food’
  2. If you are on Twitter, tweet the photograph saying why you support the #RightToFood campaign – please use the #RightToFood hashtag and tag in @IanByrneMP and @SFoodbanks
  3. If you are on Facebook, post your photograph saying why you support the #RightToFood campaign, be sure to use the #RightToFood hashtag and tag @IanByrneMP and @FansSupportingFoodbanks
  4. If you are on Instagram, post your photograph saying why you support the #RightToFood campaign, be sure to use the #RightToFood hashtag
  5. Ahead of Monday, spread the word about the National #RightToFood day taking place on social media to family, friends and colleagues and ask them to get involved in the campaign
  6. Throughout Monday, tweet and post as many times as you can using #RightToFood
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