Good Food Governance

Why changing food in Bristol for good matters to everyone in the city

By Joy Carey

Joy Carey

Bristol Going for Gold was named as one of three priorities for Bristol at the recent City Gathering. In our latest blog post, Bristol Going for Gold coordinator Joy Carey explains what a healthy and sustainable food city means for the people of Bristol.

Our food system is broken. We throw away the equivalent of one in every five bags of food shopping. Seven million tonnes of food is wasted in UK households every year – the equivalent of £70 a month for the average family of four. 17.5 thousand people used Bristol’s Trussell Trust foodbanks alone last year. The average five-year-old eats their body weight in sugar in just one year.

The world’s food system is responsible for around a quarter to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and is a significant contributor to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and increasing pressure on water supplies. Up until recently, ‘Food’ has been left out of the climate change conversation – we’ve only measured emissions from transport and energy use. Increasingly, the role of our food system is being recognised as a major contributor to GHG emissions.

All around the world cities like ours are waking up to the fact that we can influence the food system either for better or for worse, through the way we spend money, feed ourselves, manage our land and resources, and change wasteful habits. Cities have powers of purchase, of planning and of partnerships. Bristol is leading the way in thinking about how we can reduce the climate impact of how we feed the city. All around the world cities are starting to address food issues, but as far as we know, no city anywhere has yet managed to galvanise the entire city community.

We would be the first in the worldto do thisif we could demonstrate and evidence genuine city-wide engagement and action. So let’s do this Bristol – we want to lead the way, actively sharing the challenges and the solutions through our networks.We want to engage with as many people and organisations in the city to get behind this exciting ambition. We have a one-off opportunity to work together in a city-wide effort, using our one city approach, to make big and lasting improvements to Bristol’s wider food system and in recognition of this achievement, to be awarded as a Gold Sustainable Food City by the end of 2020.

By taking major steps to improve our city’s food system in six key Food Action Areas, together as a city we’ll take action to buy better, eat better, reduce food waste, grow in the city, support the food community and promote food equality. Everyone can do something no matter how small. As a city we can take collective action to achieve some big changes that benefit us all. Here’s what you can do:

  • Register on the website, both as an individual and as an organisation.
  • Tell us what you’re doing already, and pledge to take new actions via the website, recording them as you go.
  • Help spread the word by becoming a Going For Gold champion, share inspiring stories and encourage others in your networks using the #GoingForGoldBristol hashtag on social media. You can also use the hashtags #G4Gbuyingbetter, #G4Gfoodwaste, #G4Gurbangrowing, #G4Gcommunityaction, #G4Geatingbetter and #G4Gfoodequality for each of the Food Action Areas.

We have a year to pull together on this and build each of the six food action areas into the way we go about our daily business – to integrate it into Bristol’s food culture and show others just what is possible when everyone acts together. We can do this!

Joy Carey is an Independent Consultant for Sustainable Food Systems and coordinator of Bristol Going for Gold.

Join the conversation

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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