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Exeter Council votes to promote more plant-based food options in the city

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
aerial shot of Exeter with lots of greenery

Councillors in the southwest city of Exeter have supported a motion to promote plant-based diets as a healthy solution for people and the planet.

The main tenets of the motion include a transition to plant-based catering for all internal council meetings and events, and ensuring plant-based options are available and clearly signposted as part of the regular catering offering at all council-run external sites – such as leisure centres, cafes and restaurants.

As part of the motion, councillors will also set up a cross-party Task and Finish Working Group with the mission to promote and embed plant-based principles in Exeter City Council’s food provision where practicable.

Labour Councillor Duncan Wood, Lead Councillor for Climate Change, proposed the motion. He said, at its core, the motion is about raising awareness of the impact of the food choices everyone makes and promote more sustainable alternatives.

Councillor Wood explained: “As we keep seeing, climate change is real – it’s a fact and we need to do what we can as individuals to address it.

“There are a number of small changes we can all make, one is what we eat. What we eat makes a difference. If we are aware of the impact on climate our dietary choices have and what the options are, how our health is affected by what we eat, we can make informed choices.”

Exeter joins a host of local councils around the world which in recent months have chosen to acknowledge the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet.

Back in the summer, the Sussex town of Haywards Heath became the first European adoptee of the Plant Based Treaty – a pledge which seeks to put animal-free food systems at the forefront of action against the climate crisis.

Other municipalities from around the world which have also pledged to raise awareness of the impact of a plant-based diet this year include Los Angeles and Boynton Beach in the US, Didim in Turkey and the cities of Mundra, Ahmedabad and Thane, among others in India.

Speaking about the transition towards a more plant-focussed diet, Councillor Wood added: “There is a shared understanding in society that we should eat less meat. Climate change means we need to look at everything we do, what changes we can make to reduce Carbon Emissions and consider food production, transportation, and sustainability.

“We aren’t saying people should stop eating meat, they may choose to of course. What we are saying is that they should be aware of their choices and that eating more plant-based food is one of the actions that they can take.”

Plant-based food will no doubt form an important part of the transition towards a more sustainable food system. Learn more about how companies and experts are accelerating this change at this Food Matters Live 2023 event:

Sustainable Food Forum


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