ZERO waste restaurants and the use of coffee beans to grow mushrooms have helped Brighton and Hove head the sustainable food revolution.

The city has become the first to be awarded the Soil Association’s prestigious silver award for sustainable food at a major national conference this week.

Award organisers praised the winners as an inspirational example of what motivated people can do to make healthy, sustainable and local food a “defining characteristic” of where they live.

Brighton and Hove was singled out as the first city in the UK to insist upon food growing areas in new residential developments. Judges also praised ground-breaking steps ensuring that thousands of meals served through council food contracts were full of ingredients that met minimum health and sustainability standards.

The panel were impressed with progress the city has made in reducing childhood obesity, improving public sector food, “dynamic community approaches” to food waste and the sheer number and variety of community growing projects.

Roberta Emmott, from Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, said the city was full of success stories including the zero-waste restaurant Silo and the Espresso Mushroom Company who grow oyster mushrooms in used coffee grounds collected from around the city.

She said the city was benefitting from becoming the first city to take a strategic approach to food and that many others were now copying their approach.

Food partnership director Vic Borrill said the award was testament to the thousands of volunteers running lunch clubs and growing community schemes.

She said the support of councillors, food produces, restaurants and retailers was also key.

She added: “This is a moment to celebrate but also to commit to build on the momentum.

“There are big challenges ahead including work to minimise food waste, to support vulnerable people to eat well and to build the sustainable food economy.”

Councillor Ollie Sykes, Brighton and Hove City Council’s representative on the Food Partnership said: “Working with our colleagues on the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership has enabled us to drive forward innovative and exciting projects for a healthy, sustainable and fair food system, which are making real differences to people’s lives and influencing the way we shop, cook, produce and dispose of food.”