Having grown up on a farm, Anna Bridges is passionate about fresh food sourced from the local area.

Now she has been appointed to a new role with Carlisle City Council, pushing forward efforts to make Carlisle a “Food City”.

It follows a successful funding bid to the Sustainable Food Cities Network, which awarded Food Carlisle a £10,000 grant.

The money will be used to promote food-related community projects across Carlisle and help to improve the health of its residents.

Part of that is to employ a Local Food Partnership co-ordinator to focus on that work over the next 12 months.

That is where Anna comes in. The 31-year-old, who is already in post, grew up on farms in the Brampton area and now lives in Carlisle itself.

Her background is photography and tourism, having worked on Carlisle Photo Festival, but when she saw the post advertised it seemed right up her street.

She said: “When I saw the job advert asking ‘are you passionate about local food production and health and wellbeing in Carlisle?’ it caught my interest.

“I was born in Carlisle and grew up on a farm in Castle Carrock, so good local food was never far from the table.

“This new Local Food Partnership co-ordinator position has given me the chance to really get behind Food Carlisle’s wonderful projects and meet the amazing people in the area who are making them happen.”

Her initial focus has been to visit the existing projects and meet those at the centre of the local food movement.

“So far I’ve been over to Brampton to see first-hand the Lovers’ Lane Community Garden and the variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs they grow. I really love this project because of its great community involvement. Gardening also has so many health benefits, both physical and mental. It’s always good to get outside and get some fresh air,” she said.

Anna has also visited Fair Meals Direct to find out about its Meals on Wheels project, which sees a team of volunteers taking local food and turning it into home-cooked meals to deliver to elderly and housebound people across the Carlisle area.

Herself a passionate baker, she spends much of her free time in her kitchen trying out new recipes.

She added: “I believe it is important not just to have an understanding of where your food has come from and how it was produced but also how those foods will benefit your health and wellbeing.

“On a personal level, growing up on a farm, from field to fork I knew where my food came from and this has stuck with me.

“As such, the opportunity to advocate for these issues through education and promotion is appealing. Cumbria is an agricultural county, so Carlisle is well placed to pioneer the Sustainable Food Cities aims, both culturally and through production.”

Anna’s next project will be to launch a Sugar Smart Carlisle health awareness campaign.

She is keen to hear from individuals, groups and businesses that want to get involved.

Email Anna.Bridges@ carlisle.gov.uk or call 01228 817378.