Local independents working together to support our communities

Picking strawberries

The latest Bristol Bites Back Better blog is from Katie Williams from Brockley Stores. She writes about the communities that form around food producers, and how when local shops work with neighbouring food businesses they grow and evolve to support the needs of local communities. 

“Dealing with real people is always so much more rewarding than dealing with faceless corporations.  We know our product is being sold by knowledgeable and passionate staff who care about what it is they are selling, with the same love and attention that we put into making it.” – Danny from Circumstance Distillery

Life was never meant to be lived alone, in isolation. We’re simply not wired for it. If the last 18 months have taught us anything, perhaps it’s been the value of real community; working together and supporting each other. The benefits of buying from a small independent like The Public Market, East Bristol Bakery, or Brockley Stores have never been more apparent with the big supermarkets with their complicated global supply chains often faltering under the pressures, leaving empty shelves. Having strong relationships with our local farmers and producers makes things a lot less complicated, and the journey from farm to fork simple and transparent. By supporting a regional food system, our short transparent supply chains nurture our local communities, help reduce food miles, and allow for amazing product innovation – all down to real communication, with genuine care and support.

As a local independent food business, we have been reminded of this time and time again. Our suppliers are real people – talented and hardworking – bloody brilliant if you ask us! It turns out, the feeling is mutual! Ingrid, owner of Dunleavy Vineyards, has grown her local wine business by working closely with independent shops and restaurants: “Selling through independents is great. I know the managers on a personal level and feel like we can all work together to help spread the word about each other.” This mutually beneficial relationship not only impacts brand awareness – it drives innovation.

Wiper and True, a local Bristol brewery, feel that “the reciprocal relationship of trading with a fellow local business is like nothing else; we can hear real, useful feedback directly from our trade customers about the beers that are selling well, the cans customers are reaching for, and the releases getting people excited.” It’s much easier to have your ear to the ground when your customer is in your community – it’s that simple! 

Alongside all of this, is the benefit to the environment – which is HUGE. Without transporting over-packaged goods on airplanes and freighters, carbon emissions are cut. Quick turnarounds on ordering mean we can be adaptive to surplus, availability, and customer demand, reducing food waste and increasing freshness. Harry, founder of Kinetic Kitchen says: “We strive to support local suppliers in our chain. With supplying true local shops, we are given access to true local customers. This means we are feeding mouths in a very close proximity to our production unit.” 

All these little details weave together to create a positive ripple-effect on our communities’ welfare and happiness. By supporting each other, we’re supporting our fantastic regional food systems. Do you know where your nearest independent food shop is? It’s ready and waiting!

By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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