BFC21Businesses, organisations and food activists from across the City came together at the the Old Market Assembly during Bristol Food Connections festival to help Bristol celebrate our new Silver Award from the Sustainable Food City Network, in recognition of our pioneering work in the city to promote healthy and sustainable food.  As part of a celebratory event hosted by Bristol Food Network, Food Policy Council and Bristol Food Producers brought together a group of people who are passionate about our food system to explore how we can now ‘Go for Gold’.

The Sustainable Food Cities Award is designed to highlight and celebrate the success of those places taking a joined up, holistic approach to food and that are achieving significant positive change on a range of key food issues.

download (10)Simon Wood, Chair of the Food Policy Council and a director of North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “By working together, organisations across the city have already achieved great things. It is outstanding and a credit to so many people that Bristol has gained a silver award, showing that it is a place where people really care about their city and its people are motivated towards being a Sustainable Food City.

The ‘Noma’ Effect  – Dan Saladino of the BBC Good Food Programme kicked off the day at the Business Brunch with stories of the inspirational finalists and winners of their Food and Farming Awards. Food Heroes such as The Our Cow Molly dairy farm – winner of this years Future Food Award –  currently the very last one BFC35left in Sheffield that process and bottles its own milk, who have found innovative ways to both communicate and connect with local customers and markets.  He also talked of ‘Nomanomics‘ the effect that Noma in Copenhagen – three time reigning Best Restaurant in the world – has had on not just other restaurants in the city but the whole local food system, with but the list of those impacted goes beyond the hospitality industry: cheesemongers, brewmasters, bloggers, oystermen, vegetable farmers—all are benefiting from the fact that the world’s most talked-about restaurant happens to be in the Kingdom of Denmark.   John Hirst of Destination Bristol vouched for this, saying that people ‘visit Bristol because of Good Food,’ with a whole network of local producers and caterers behind our excellent culinary reputation.

Bristol is just the second city to be awarded silver status – at present the top award possible – following on from Brighton and Hove who picked up the award last year. No city has achieved gold yet as the standard is still being developed.

BFC16Bristol has been working towards making its food system healthier and more resilient for over two decades and collaborative working is at the heart of the city’s success.  The Bristol Food Policy Council prepared and submitted the application on behalf of the city. The Food Policy Council brings together a wide range of stakeholders from businesses, community groups and public bodies who want to improve Bristol’s food system. Bristol City Council also contributed to the bid.

Some of the key projects which demonstrate the work Bristol has done to become a sustainable food city include:

  • The Healthy Schools Programme, which has embedded healthy and sustainable food as a curriculum-wide issue in many primary and junior schools, reaching all parts of the city. The ambition is to get every school in the city on board.
  • The Food Connections Festival – a project from Bristol Food Network that aims to change the way we think about food. The 2015 festival in May saw more than 130 events across the city and over 115,000 people participating.
  • The Edible Parks Policy actively encourages city residents to use parks, open spaces, housing estates and other areas to grow food for the community.
  • Public Health Bristol supports community-led food projects including community food co-ops, vegetable and fruit box schemes, community food shops, cooking skills classes, ‘cooking from scratch’ campaigns, fruit and vegetable promotions. Encouraging more citizens to maintain a healthy weight is a priority.
  • One Tree Per Child – planting a tree for every primary school aged child in the city, including fruit trees and giving children the chance to plant fruit trees at home
  • Bristol Fairtrade run Fairtrade Business Awards incentivising local businesses to buy and promote Fairtrade products.
  • The public sector is working together and sharing good practice about managing contracts, which means universities, colleges, schools and children’s centre are now benefitting from a shift towards healthier, more sustainable food.

This article appeared in Bristol Food Network July – August 16 newsletter   Images courtesy of Katrin Hochberg  katrin.hochberg@localfood.org.uk 

Further info on the award can be found at: http://sustainablefoodcities.org/awards

Going for Gold held on May 5th 2016 – part of Bristol Food Connections – was a partnership event from Bristol Food Network, Bristol Food Producers & Bristol Food Policy Council, supported by Bristol City Council, Go Green and Green Capital Partnership.  http://www.bristolfoodconnections.com/fringe/going-gold-bristols-good-food-conference-2016/