HOW IS BETTER FOOD EMBRACING THE BRISTOL BITES BACK BETTER CAMPAIGN?

HOW IS BETTER FOOD EMBRACING THE BRISTOL BITES BACK BETTER CAMPAIGN?

For several decades Bristol’s sustainable food movement has been growing, and this was recognised in 2016 when Bristol secured Sustainable Food Places’ silver award; an award that recognises places making positive changes to their food systems and culture. Places are judged against themes including healthy and sustainable food, food poverty, the local food economy, community activity, public sector food and waste. Five years on, Bristol is Going for Gold – aiming to secure the gold award, alongside only Brighton & Hove.

As part of this bid, the Bristol Going for Gold initiative launched its campaign Bristol Bites Back Better in November 2020. This campaign wants to “empower Bristolians to create a food system that will nourish our city far into the future”. It aims to give individuals, communities, organisations and food businesses the means to participate in Bristol’s sustainable food movement. Check it out here.

We, at Better Food, recently took the time to log the ‘actions’ we’ve taken to support Bristol’s gold bid. Out of the 35 possible actions that an organisation can take, we were pleased to discover that we’re already doing 29 of them, and we’re keen to explore how we can make the other six happen. Finding ourselves already closely aligned with the actions is testament to our core commitment towards sustainable food systems, community support and corporate responsibility.

Five of the organisation actions are part of the Bristol Bites Back Better campaign – highlighting the kinds of things businesses might be able to do during the pandemic to support the city’s recovery through food. Take a look at the Bite Back Better actions for more details on how they contribute to a greener, fairer and healthier food system. Here’s how we’re supporting those actions:

1. Create a good food plan

Better Food has always operated under a considered set of sourcing policies, and now we’re working on a much more detailed set of policies to ensure that every product we stock and use – front and back of house – is as closely aligned to our values as possible.

2. Involve homeworkers with BBBB

With the vast majority of our staff still going into our stores to work, we’ll need to expand this to our in-store staff and customers too. We’ll use our channels (mainly website and social media) to highlight our actions, encourage others to act and share updates on Bristol’s road to Gold and beyond… starting with this blog!

3. Give space to growing food

We transformed the municipal planting area next to our Wapping Wharf store into an edible growing bed for anyone to take from with the help of Incredible Edible and their volunteers.

4. Buy local

It’s in our tagline! Alongside organic and ethical goods, we try to ensure a large proportion of our stock is locally sourced. We stock local meat, dairy, bread, veg, fish, beers and spirits, health and bodycare brands, and much more. Some examples of our local suppliers include Left Handed Giant, Nutcessity, The Bristol Loaf, Essential, Pirate Farms and MystieCreations.

5. Support community action on food

We:

  • Have donated £11,500 to local causes since March 2020, including Fare Share South West, The Marmalade Trust and The Square Food Foundation
  • Have donated a fridge to Ilminster Avenue Nursery’s IHOPE food bank
  • Co-created our community project Streets to Kitchen, where we successfully raised over £10,000 to offer people affected by homelessness free cookery lessons
  • Offer our staff a paid volunteer day with a charity of their choice, with many choosing food-related community organisations such as The Community Farm
  • Collect customer donations for local food banks
  • Donate our surplus fresh produce to FoodCycle Bristol twice a week
  • Donate our space (when restrictions allow!) to community organisations such as Bristol Fair Trade

With everyone in Bristol playing their part, we’re sure that Bristol will be recognised as a Gold Sustainable Food City. Having operated for over 25 years, we feel deeply engrained within Bristol’s sustainable food movement. Our aim is to create a local brand that connects with Bristol’s communities, champions sustainable food systems and offers a viable alternative to supermarkets (who currently command 96.4% of the food retail market). By using our collective voice and influence we can shift the dial towards a more sustainable food future.

(image credit: Joseph Turp)