THIS week (18-23 September) is Right To Food Week, a national week of action designed to increase awareness of food insecurity in the UK, and to promote the demand for a Right to Food. The campaign aims to make access to food a legal right for all in the UK.

At the end of the week, marches against hunger and in support of a legal Right To Food will be held in London, Liverpool and Belfast, on Saturday 23 September.

Parliamentary lead for the campaign is Ian Byrne, MP for West Derby in Liverpool. He has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament in support of the campaign, and says: “Access to food is a basic human right and that is the key message of our Right To Food campaign. We are seeking several measures to address food poverty, including universal free school meals, food security, greater support for community kitchens and sufficient levels of benefits and wages.

“We know that food poverty leads to health and life expectancy inequality, malnutrition, obesity and a host of other related problems, including even long-term genetic changes. It will affect children’s educational attainment and life chances. Less measurable but no less important, is the effect on individual human dignity and social cohesion. I invite all those who wish to eliminate the scourge of food poverty to join us at St George’s Hall steps at 12 noon on Saturday 23 September.”

The London Hunger March will meet at 12 noon at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and march to Tottenham Green for a Community Festival of Resistance with speeches, food, performances and workshops from 2pm. London organiser Dr Sharon Noonan-Gunning says: “London is one of the wealthiest cities in the world yet we face rising food insecurity, which means increases in hunger and malnutrition due to inequalities in wealth across London. We say no to this outrage and we do not accept this situation, so we are taking to the streets of London on Saturday 23rd September to demand the Right To Food. We are marching against hunger with our third Hunger March in Haringey and a rally in Newham and we’ll continue our marches across London to build our movement and win a legal Right To Food for all.”

The rally in Belfast will assemble outside Belfast City Hall at 1pm. This has been organised by Paul Doherty, a founder of Foodstock, which supports hundreds of families in West Belfast with a range of issues from providing food, school uniforms, employment support, benefits advice and English language classes for refugees. Paul Doherty says: “As someone who sees first-hand the struggle that faces many families in West Belfast and right across our city to put food on the table, it’s more important than ever that we come together for this rally in the heart of Belfast to support the Right To Food campaign.

“Too many children are going to school hungry, parents are being forced to skip meals and older people are left alone and suffering in silence. We need to send a clear message to the British government and those impeding progress here that we will not allow this to continue.”

Since Liverpool became the first Right to Food City in the UK in 2021, many other places have followed, including Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Rotherham, Brighton and Hove, St Helens, Preston, Lancaster, Durham, Newcastle, Portsmouth, Totnes, Coventry, Sheffield, Birmingham, Haringey, Brent, Lewisham, Lambeth, Hackney, Southwark, Islington, Cumberland and Southampton.

* More information on the Right To Food campaign here.

* Ways to take part in the Right To Food campaign here.

* Read the Early Day Motion here.

* Sources: Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union  and Right To Food campaign