Carlisle are on a journey to become a Food City and aim to be a beacon of good practice, nationally inspiring others particularly smaller towns, cities or counties. We believe in working with our food producers, suppliers, transporters and local food establishments to make Carlisle a recognised high quality food city.
We want to create a city where good food flourishes and where we work in partnership to empower change towards a vibrant and inclusive food culture. We want every setting: school, nursery, college, hospital, care home, cafe, restaurant and workplace to serve healthy, sustainable, delicious food. We want to start a local food revolution and share learning to assist other places to recognise the value of working in this way.
The Local Healthy Options Award scheme is an initiative that has been developed by Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council and Healthy City Carlisle. It was formed to encourage local cafes, restaurants and takeaways to provide healthier food options, whilst supporting the local economy and showcasing fantastic local food.
Lovers’ Lane Community Garden is a community project run by volunteers in Brampton, Cumbria. Originally, under the auspices of Sustainable Brampton, the garden started in 2012 when a member of Brampton Food Network was making enquiries locally for land that could be used to grow vegetables on. The garden, once a horses field, is situated very close to the town centre It is remarkably productive being completely organic and sheltered. We have a large poly tunnel so that gardening and food production is all year round.
It has taken over from Cumbria County Council's ‘Meals on Wheels’ service and hopes to expand to the wider district if it proves to be successful.
Since 2014, funded by Nestlé Healthy Kids UK and with support from Carlisle Partnership and the Healthy City Steering group, the PhunkyFoods Programme has been working with 30 Carlisle primary schools to help educate children and their families on living a healthier lifestyle. As part of the Nestlé Healthy Kids funding, a local PhunkyFoods Engagement and Development Coordinator (EDC) has been employed in Carlisle. The EDC has been able to work closely with each school to help create a culture and ethos of healthy living by embedding the PhunkyFoods Programme throughout the school.
Sustainable Carlisle runs a community garden at the rear of the Women’s and Family Hostel in Water Street, Carlisle
The Sustainable Food Cities approach involves developing a cross-sector partnership of local public agencies, businesses and NGOs committed to working together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live.
A partnership initiative by Carlisle City Council, Carlisle College, Fair Food Carlisle, and Local Producers
In 2015 we commissioned research into the challenges and opportunities in the Local Food Chain of Carlisle (the research highlighted that this covered Cumbria, Dumfries & Galloway and west Northumbria) . The results of this research are now available as one of the Food City Projects. The findings from this research indicated that the overall issues relating to the use of local food revolved around availability, awareness and suitability. The research also produced an initial map of the local food supply chain.
In 2016 we looked at how local food producers (both farmers and manufacturers) could increase the awareness of their products and ensure that these products were available and suitable for local food buyers (both retailers and caterers). This work was funded by the University of Cumbria and was conducted by Keith Jackson (University of Cumbria) and Jacqui Jackson (Jardine Jackson Associates) with the support of Emma Dixon and her team at Carlisle City Council. This research allowed us to add to the map developed in 2015.
If you want to be part of this research, discuss the findings or have your details added to the local food supply chain map please contact [email protected]
On 23rd March 2017 , we are looking to bring together a delectable assortment of local partners and businesses to shout about our food offer and provide a platform for local food producers to showcase their goods to a range of people, service and businesses.
The show will be held at H&H Auction Mart in Carlisle from 12.00pm – 5.00pm for further details please visit
At the show we will have three master classes
Andrew Dunning - Liberty Leisure Wear;
“Building corporate Identify through business branding”
Local work wear and promotional gift supplier, Liberty Work & Leisure, will talk through the benefits of businesses promoting their brand through their employees’ uniform and by distributing promotional gifts.
Chris Walker – Selkirk Arms Hotel;
“Linking local food to local people to make it a personal journey”
Chris has over 30 years’ experience in the hotel trade as well as hosting his own cookery programme on Border TV. Chris and his wife Sue have now run the Selkirk Arms Hotel in Kirkcudbright for over ten years and are champions of local food procurement and are passionate about featuring local produce on all their menus. His talk today will share some of his experiences in bringing local food to local people and the benefits it can bring to your business
Luke Jackson – Bruce and Luke’s coffee;
“A whole bunch of nothing that eventually means something”
Luke Jackson from Bruce and Luke’s coffee will share some of his experiences of working with social media. Bruce and Luke’s belief in the power of awesome coffee, shared knowledge and adventure to inspire others to “grab life by the beans!” combines a great coffee product with a very active social media presence and is paying dividends for this growing company. They are currently a finalist in Cumbria Life Food & Drink Awards ‘Food Producer of the Year’ category, have just got their coffee into Manchester City Centre and are making their debut on a food TV show in the Spring.
Register here for these master classes
Carlisle were shortlisted and became a founding member of the Sustainable Food Cities Network. in August 2013. We have developed a Charter and an action plan to advance this work and projects throughout the city.
Food is central to our lives. With good local food we can achieve better health, reduce the impact of poverty and build a more sustainable local economy and society. The Carlisle Food Charter has been developed with our key partners, stakeholders and communities, and sets out what we want to achieve in Carlisle, so that everyone benefits from having “good local food for all”. We want as many people and organisations as possible to endorse the Charter and proactively work with us in making Carlisle a fantastic food city with a flourishing food culture.
If you're involved in a food related project around these aims within the Carlisle district and you're interested in working with us, please contact us.
This video gives a
snapshot of the progress so far and some of the emerging projects and activities.
We began the “Food Carlisle” journey in late 2012, with an initial exploratory meeting with key partners.
Friday, 8 March 2013 - Carlisle Partnership, Carlisle College and Carlisle City Council held a free event to explore the ideas of developing Carlisle as a Sustainable Food City.
Friday, 10 May 2013 - Steering group established.
Tuesday, 6 August 2013 - Carlisle were shortlisted as a founding sustainable food city (top 13) from over 50 other cities.
18-21 August 2013 - Carlisle Pageant hosted a
Best of Carlisle market and food fayre. (YouTube video)
Thursday, 24 July 2014 - The Food Carlisle Steering Group work was promoted at the Carlisle Partnership AGM. The Carlisle Food Charter (
and video) was officially launched.
17- 20 August 2014 Carlisle Pageant hosted a Best of Carlisle market supported by local food producers and businesses
August 2015 Carlisle Pageant repeated the Best of Carlisle market supported by local food producers and businesses
August 2015 Food research on the local food supply chain started
Jan 2016 Food map posted onto our website
June 2016 Carlisle Ambassadors celebrated 'give a day' with a giant free tea party in the centre of Carlisle
Oct 2016 Carlisle Foodie Fest was held in the town centre with chef demonstrations from Sean Wilson and Michael Caines and food demonstrations from several local producers
Nov 2016 Local producers set up food stalls in the city centre as part of the Christmas Lights switch on