Belfast City Council makes history by endorsing Plant Based Treaty

Councillor Paul Doherty brought the motion with support from Gary McKeown
Councillor Paul Doherty brought the motion with support from Gary McKeown -Credit:Paul Doherty

Belfast has become the first city across this island to endorse a Plant Based Treaty to promote the shift to more healthy and sustainable food choices.

West Belfast councillor and Foodstock founder Paul Doherty knows more than most about the rise of food poverty in Northern Ireland.

The SDLP man already supports families to grow their own food, provides groceries for those in need and hosts breakfast clubs through the West Belfast charity.

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Following his push for Belfast to become a Right To Food city, he is hoping his latest motion on the Plant Based Treaty will now inspire people and businesses to make more sustainable food choices to help combat the climate crisis, which is already impacting food production and prices in Northern Ireland.

Councillor Doherty told Belfast Live: “Since becoming a councillor I have used my platform to highlight the issues that people right across our city and in my community are dealing with, particularly when it comes to poverty and access to food.

“We have made real progress with Belfast becoming a Right To Food city and securing funding for breakfast clubs and other initiatives and I believe adopting the Plant Based Treaty is an important next step.”

The Plant Based Treaty is based on three principles.

They are no further ecosystem degradation for animal agriculture, an active move towards a more plant-based food systems and restoring key ecosystems, forests and rewilding landscapes.

After adopting Mr Doherty's motion, Belfast City Council will now write to the NI Assembly to call for a further endorsement of the Plant Based Treaty and for a greater commitment to further transitioning towards more sustainable plant-based food systems.

Mr Doherty added: “By changing the way we consume food and shifting to a healthier and more sustainable diet we can make a real impact on dealing with the climate crisis.

“We have many community groups who are doing fantastic work when it comes to growing healthy food and distributing it to those who need it and we can use this opportunity to build on their efforts.

“This is one of the most important issues we face, the very future of our planet is at stake and we must do everything within our power to reduce emissions and protect our environment.

“These changes could also benefit our population by supporting health and wellbeing.

“I believe as a council we should do all we can to continue to inspire communities to make sustainable food choices to build a healthier, more resilient, and environmentally conscious future for all who live here.

“As the first city on the island to endorse these principals we are sending a strong message that we are serious about the threat of climate change and ensuring that we do our part to combat it.”

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