Birmingham is a growing city with a population forecast to rise to 1.3 million within 15 years. One of the principle reasons for Birmingham’s growth is that it is the youngest city in Europe with an average age under-30. Birmingham is a very diverse city and by 2025 its population will be more than 50% black and ethnic minority. The city’s plan 2018-2022 has outlined for the city to be a city where every child, citizen and place matters.
Birmingham is one of the founding members of Eurocities network which brings together 140 European cities and an active member of the Eurocities Working Group Food.
British cities are often home to the most deprived communities in the country, and in Britain deprivation brings higher levels of childhood obesity, lower height attainment, a cluster of other public health challenges including mental ill health linked to uncertainty in securing enough food to eat. And beyond areas of deprivation, the majority of the population in Britain is overweight or obese and rates of type 2 diabetes are climbing exponentially.
In the recent years, Public Health and prevention services including weight management, food access, nutrition/health education have been drastically cut due to the public sector cuts and austerity. This is despite the fact that 1 in 4 children leave school obese and there is higher prevalence amongst lower income groups. This makes the project particularly relevant and strategically important to the local needs.
Birmingham has established a forum for multi-vector food conversation. Its Food Trails pilot will focus on supporting businesses to develop and deliver business concepts that will promote healthier, economically and environmentally sustainable food consumption within the food system.