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Becoming a sustainable food city: Bristol’s Good Food Action Plan 2015-2018 published


The Bristol Food Policy Council have published Bristol’s Good Food Action Plan 2015-2018 – an overarching framework that brings together the food-related plans of many organisations and individuals across the city, and maps these against shared aims and desired outcomes.

It was compiled through people and organisations submitting their own plans via a template form; through themed meetings on “Food Waste/Wasted Food” and “Land and Planning” hosted courtesy of Bristol City Council; via a mass data collection gathering co-hosted with the Bristol Green Capital Partnership; and via the Bristol Green Capital Food Action Group.

What is the Good Food Action Plan?

food good for usThe purpose of this plan is to help coordinate, support and inspire the work of many players, and to make food system aims and actions more open and transparent. Many of the actions have already begun, and all are on track to happen within by 2018. This Action Plan also forms part of Bristol’s Sustainable Food Cities award application. The actions in the plan are evolving constantly and the document will always reflect work in progress. It will need to be updated regularly as events move forwards and as we establish ways of monitoring progress.

Why do we need an action plan?

The system for providing food to human communities in England operates in such a way that control rests, in effect, with ‘the market’, whose legally enshrined aim is economic growth. This means that a dominant force is the production of food at low prices, and externalisation of costs or harms. If we are to ensure that at the same time we achieve the system aims set out in

Key aims of the Bristol Good Food Plan

Key aims of the Bristol Good Food Plan

the Who feeds Bristol report and the 2013 Good Food Plan for Bristol then we need coordinated effort within civic society, businesses, and institutions, involving a wide range of people in and around Bristol, working towards measurable, shared outcomes and changes. The Bristol’s Good Food Action Plan 2015-2018 , compiled with input from a wide range of participants, presents a shared plan of how we will work towards achieving our vision over the next 2 to 3 years. In companion with this document the Food Policy Council has also prepared a Baseline Report summarising available data relating to the eight system change objectives. Many of these data are indirect, and inexact, and few are regularly collected. The purpose of the Baseline Report is to help the Food Policy Council with the task of selecting some key outcome measures that it can start to monitor year on year to document progress, and to highlight gaps in progress.

How has this action plan been compiled

The 2013 Good Food Plan described eight system change objectives. Building on this approach and using the output from several engagement events, and from the Green Capital Food Action Group, ten themes have emerged, grouped under three key headings. These ten themes form the framework for this Action Plan.

Eating healthily and growing strong communities

1. ACCESS & AFFORDABILITY Aim – Increase access to affordable good food

2. HEALTH, EDUCATION, INCLUSION & ENGAGEMENT Aim – Promote healthy, affordable & sustainable food to the public. Provide learning opportunities for growing & cooking.

Promoting a thriving sustainable food economy

3. RETAIL Aim – To champion the use of local, independent food shops & traders to help keep our high streets vibrant & diverse

4. COMMUNITY-LED TRADE Aim – To promote community-led food trade such as co-operatives, buying groups, Community Supported Agriculture & pop-up shops

5. SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION INFRASTRUCTURE Aim – To retain & strengthen city links with local wholesale markets, & nearby abattoirs, dairies & farms

6. MARKET OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL, REGIONAL AND FAIRTRADE PRODUCERS Aim – To help open-up markets for food made or grown by local, regional & Fairtrade producers

7. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE CATERING & PROCUREMENT Aim – Transform catering & procurement

Taking Care of the Natural World

8. LAND & PLANNING Aim – To promote the use of good quality land in & around Bristol for food production in balance with the natural environment

9. SCALING UP URBAN AGRICULTURE Aim – To increase the amount of Bristol-grown fruit & vegetables supplied to restaurants, cafes, markets & households across the city

10. REDUCING WASTED FOOD & FOOD WASTE Aim – To minimise food waste by encouraging composting & the redistribution of good food that would otherwise be wasted

Under each theme some desired outcomes have been identified, and a list of actions has been included. Predominantly these are actions that are already taking place or are being considered. The information supplied to us during the preparation of the Action Plan includes considerable detail on many projects, and this has been compiled into a companion document ‘Bristol’s Good Food Action Plan 2015–18; Detailed plans’. The Action Plan reveals that the numerous existing projects are part of a considerable movement in Bristol toward a more sustainable food system. It also demonstrates some of the gaps and barriers, and potential opportunities to pool resources, to share experiences and to work together. Numerous individuals, organisations and networks have contributed to this plan.

Bristol’s Good Food Action Plan 2015–18: Detailed plans

Information for this detailed plan was collected during March–June 2015. Most of the information was written by the people/organisations adding their plans to the Good Food Plan for Bristol. These contributors were issued with a blank template form that included two sample ‘model’ entries. Some information was obtained by interview and has subsequently been checked by the interviewees. Some information was obtained through themed meetings on Food Waste/Wasted Food and Land and Planning.

All entries relating to Bristol City Council’s work were updated by Bristol City Council in December 2015. This is noted on the individual entries concerned.

Download the companion document ‘Bristol’s Good Food Action Plan 2015–18; Detailed plans’.

This article includes information from Bristol Food Policy Council website – for the full announcement, please visit

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