Influencing Policy – PINGs

PING stands for the Policy Influencers Network Group. UAC aims to support the development and upscaling of urban and peri-urban agroecology through supporting participants to connect, explore, learn and progress in the space where policy meets practice. How can policy work better for practitioners in the field and help to accelerate rather than hinder change?

See recordings of past PINGS on our YouTube channel here.

Upcoming Events:

PING #10 The Landed Community Kitchen – Watch this space for the date….
The Landed Community Kitchen is one of the cornerstones of a radically progressive body of work known as Agroecological Urbanism. Read more about it here:
UAC has been partnering with CAWR senior researcher Chiara Tornaghi (lead academic on Agroecological Urbanism), ex-fringe farming coordinator Aryo Feldman and Jade Bashford at the Real Farming Trust to start developing kitchen-farmer coalitions in some of England’s northern cities and towns.

Past PINGs

PING #9 The Agroecological Greenbelt. A reimagining. Thursday 14th March 10am – 12pm on zoom.

Watch the recording here:

Please contact us for an initial conversation about how we can facilitate this same process where you are. Workshops have around 10 participants plus a creative team to facilitate, capture and visualise the conversation. They will take place in a greenbelt location and run for 4-5 hours.

From May to December 2023, UAC led a project looking at how creative technologies might be able to visualise and amplify community visions for the Bristol and Bath Greenbelt. This PING is an opportunity for people who have been thinking about what a Greenbelt 2.0 might look like to learn more about UACs process and consider how investing in localised community conversations and reimagining might give us the framework for change that we need.

Just watched all of the first and most of the second (GB 2.0) videos and they are beautiful. It’s exciting what mapping can offer in this. And hopefully the mapping, consultation and insight can offer a framework for shaping periurban land policy! 

This PING follows on from the Greenbelt 2.0L Rings of Resilience, Resistance and Renewal project run by UAC in the Bristol & Bath area from June to December 2023. Find out more about that and watch the short films on our Greenbelt page here:

PING #8 – Tues 17th October 2023. Public Common Partnerships, Council Farms and Agroecological Food Sovereignty. With Dr Kai Heron from Abundance / Lancaster University and Gary Mitchell from Social Farms and Gardens / Future Farms project Wales.

Watch the recording here:

PING #7 – Wednesday 24th May 10am – 12pm. The Right to Grow and tools for managing shared care of public land for food growing. With Incredible Edible.

Watch the recording here:

PING #6 – Thurs 17th November 10.30am – 12.30pm. Mapping Land for Food Growing. With members of UACs Food Land Mappers community of practice.

Watch the recording here:

Find out more on our mapping page here.

The food land mappers group was started by the Urban Agriculture Consortium in 2021. They are committed to open source data mapping to increase food security and food sovereignty in urban and peri-urban areas of the UK. In the group they share projects, approaches and expertise and support each other as a community of practice.

In this session, some mappers from the group will share what well designed maps can do to unlock land and increase food production, and we’ll hear from local authority officers and communities developing maps to unlock food growing land.

Local authorities wanting to map food growing land can find out how to start on the right track, make it useable and fit for purpose, and align it with their vision.

PING #5 – 21st September 2022 – Food Hubs – essential infrastructure for the new food economy. With the Open Food Network.

Watch the recording here:

In September we collaborated with the Open Food Network to spread the word about the transformative potential of food hubs to our ever widening policy influencers network.
Nick Wier took participants on a tour of diverse Food Hubs and what makes them work. People brought their questions, shared contexts and challenges. Please connect with OFN if you would like their follow up support in creating or progressing a food hub in your area.


How to Grow a Food Hub (Melbourne, Australia, April 2022)

Local Food Networks, Making them Real (Oxford Real Farming Conference 2022)

  • WING # 2: Our 2nd annual Wider Interest Network Group – 8th June 2022

A call to action for food partnerships and LAs to adopt policies in support of Urban Agroecology. We called upon our networks and collaborators to share with each other how they are progressing and what is still needed.

PING #4 – 27 April 2022 – Land Use Planning & Urban Food Security

Integrating different types and scales of agroecology into urban landscapes can dramatically reduce health inequalities, sequester significant amounts of carbon, boost biodiversity, provide jobs and training, bolster physical, mental and social health and, crucially, build resilience to weather existing and future climate, economic and ecological changes. What do planners need, and what can they do, to be able to bring healthy food production into the centre of placemaking, and what is in the way of them doing so?

PING #3 – 2nd March 2022 – Healthy Soils, Healthy population

Watch the recording here:
Presentation from GRFFN here:

We examined changing priorities & narratives around the connections between soil health and how food is grown, and nutrition, health and well-being.

These sessions are for council officers at regional and local levels and others working with these themes interested in writing and influencing policy writing and delivery – we convene online to create an inclusive informal space to learn, connect and be inspired.
We’re really pleased to be sharing presentations from Anna Cura, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Dr Elizabeth Westaway from Growing Real Food for Nutrition,, and from Nottinghamshire County & Leicestershire County Councils.

PING Northern Ireland – Mapping and managing land for Community led food growing in Northern Ireland. 17th Jan 2022

PING #2 – Understanding food & climate post-COP26: 30 November 2021.

You can catch up with PING #2 here

We believe, in order to shift policy development, positive and willing collaboration between local authorities and food partnerships are essential. Without local and city/region policy level support, access to land, procurement, and training and enterprise development continue to face barriers.

We want to see local authorities accelerate the development, adoption, implementation, resourcing and enforcement of policies to support all aspects of urban food production in response to the multiple crises we are experiencing – climate breakdown, food and nutritional inequity, biodiversity collapse – to seek the opportunities for reimagining food systems that these meta-shifts provide, and to promote local health and wellbeing through opportunities in sustainable food and land-based livelihoods.

The UAC is a small part of a much bigger constellation of partners and stakeholders pushing in the same direction, and we want to ensure anything we do adds value to policy influencing work already underway.

We are planning a series of innovative PINGs: policy influencing network groups to run in 2022, based on feedback received from partners across the UK, these will be neutral, open, online meeting spaces for food partnerships, local authority officers and politicians, and other stakeholders and experts, to share knowledge, peer learning and ideas in a no-question-is-wrong environment where solidarity can be nurtured. PINGs can be in a variety of shapes and sizes- local, regional, national, cross-national. We are already seeing UK-wide, and country specific PINGs emerging.

PINGs will help share, create, promote and disseminate good practice and successful policy initiatives between Local Authorities, food partnerships and our consortium partners.

There is no “one size fits all” for getting to effective policy and LAs will all have different pathways, be it through a One City Plan (as in Bristol), A Wellbeing Strategy (as in Nottingham’s Design Guide) or a Climate Emergency Local Plan review (as in Lancaster).

We are consulting with existing partners who are engaged in policy influencing –  our own core partners, FFCC,  LWA, Nourish, Shared Assets, Sustain, SFP, and others to work out how we fit with their work, how we might add value and provide a useful service. 

The 1st PING was held on 7 September 2021

Agreed on 7 September: The PING concept is a very welcome addition to the ecosystem, and offers exciting possibilities for collaboration, amplification and accelerating changeWe all need to be radical and bold in helping re-frame the narrative to assign responsibility for policy and action to (all levels of) governmentThere is a real sense of momentum developing in this communityThe meeting welcomed  & endorsed a “mandate” for UAC to further develop the PING concept.
Actions:  The Shape of PINGs to ComeDevelop this collaboration and PING concept with SFP, LGA, Sustain, Shared Assets, Nourish and invite FFCC and others to join.Explore country & region specific PINGs with UAC and a core group holding the “mothership” concept Ask participants to link with LA officers and councillors and invite a random group to a further exploratory session (Nov 2021)Develop PING session at Northern Real Farming Conference – and plan programme for 2022, resources permitting, with invites to contributions re COP26Work with SFP and all partners to develop mini-toolkit for LA policy influence around urban and peri-urban agroecologyWork with SFG to contribute to a broader format for work with LGA, COSLA,  NILGA & WLGA

Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.