The Bristol Going for Gold team launches a new campaign today that gives people the power to make our city and communities stronger through food, now and into the next decade.
Bristol Bites Back Better, which launches during the city’s second week of national lockdown restrictions, highlights the central role food plays in our lives, not only during lockdown, but also as a vital part of a strong recovery.
The campaign aims to give everyone the means to participate in our city’s food system, beyond their weekly shop. It will provide individuals, communities, organisations and food businesses with a way to access information, share ideas, and hear stories from across the city about food.
It also encourages Bristolians to discover how we can all use food to improve our physical and mental health, build a stronger local economy, protect the environment, and celebrate Bristol’s cultural diversity.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, said: “In a year marked by uncertainty, the one thing that touches all our lives is food; how we access it, and how we experience it in our families and communities.
“Bristol is a pioneering city when it comes to sustainable approaches to food, but not everyone has had the opportunity to participate in the conversation about what good food means to them, or to share their thoughts on what changes they would like to see to make food in our city better in the future.
“With Bristol Bites Back Better, we’re inviting everyone in the city to explore how food can make our lives and our city better, and to hear from communities across the city about how they’re using food to get through these times.”
People can visit the Bristol Bites Back Better website to find resources and inspiration for making simple changes in the way they shop, cook, eat and dispose of food, while organisations and food businesses can discover their role in building a stronger food system for the city. Individuals and organisations are encouraged to share their own insights and stories using the hashtag #BiteBackBetter.
Several of the lifestyle changes that the Bristol Bites Back Better campaign advocates as part of a more resilient, healthy and sustainable approach to food, are behaviours that have become a typical part of lockdown life for many people across Bristol. These include growing food at home, cooking more meals from scratch, making the most of the food we have, and finding ways to support local food businesses.
The organisations behind the new campaign – Bristol Food Network, Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Bristol City Council, and Resource Futures – form a partnership that hopes to see Bristol recognised as a Gold Sustainable Food City in spring next year. The campaign is also supported by sponsors Essential Trading, GENeco and Lovely Drinks.
The bid for the gold award, known as Bristol Going for Gold, was launched last year, and aims to lay the foundations for Bristol to build a healthier, more resilient and inclusive food community over the coming decade. Individuals and organisations taking part in the Bristol Bites Back Better campaign will be contributing to the final bid and helping to secure the award for the city.
Access to food has been a particular focus for Bristol during the pandemic, with organisations such as Feeding Bristol providing support in tackling food insecurity, and over 125 community organisations involved in the emergency food response. Anira Khokhar – Community Engagement Lead for Bristol Bites Back Better – will be piloting a programme to connect younger people with food in their communities.
Speaking about the programme, Anira said: “In order to ensure that the discussion around sustainable food continues to go from strength to strength, young people must be included in the decision making process. This is why we will be introducing the Bristol Bites Back Better Young Leaders programme. Our aim is to recruit four young people who will reflect the diversity of our city.
“The programme will provide a platform for young people to learn lifelong skills, participate, share stories, and shape the impact of food in their own and wider communities.” Visit www.bristolbitesbackbetter.co.uk to explore resources, discover stories, and participate in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #BiteBackBetter. Plus, answer two short questions before 15th December 2020 for the chance of winning £25 of local food shopping.
Read the first blog our series about a post COVID-19 sustainable food future: Bristol Going for Gold Coordinator Joy Carey proposes five core principles on which to start building a better and more resilient food system.
The second blog post in the series is by Sara Venn of Incredible Edible Bristol and is about how the city can keep the momentum going to upscale and increase urban food production.
The third blog in the series is by Jo Ingleby, Director of The Children’s Kitchen. Jo’s blog considers the importance of being able to cook a meal from scratch with simple, fresh, affordable ingredients. The significance of this essential skill has been highlighted during the COVID-19 crisis, as dealing with shortages of certain ingredients is – of course – far less stressful when we know how to easily adapt meals.
In the fourth blog of the series Katie Powell and Fiona Jarvis from environmental consultancy and Bristol Going for Gold partner Resource Futures consider the benefits of closed-loop systems. These are essentially systems that help the city conserve resources – and money – designing out unnecessary pollution and waste and treating anything that remains as a resource, not waste.