Food Justice

Supporting Bristol community food projects through the cost of living crisis

By Ailbhe Elliott

Ailbhe Elliott is a volunteer for Bristol Food Network. She lives in Bristol and works for the surplus food app Too Good To Go. Her passion is ensuring we create local food systems which are sustainable, resilient and serve everyone in the community.

While still suffering the impacts of a decade of austerity and a global pandemic, the UK is falling into the grips of the cost-of-living crisis. Food supply disruptions and unprecedented price rises will accelerate the already significant levels of food insecurity and food poverty in the UK.  

Community food projects offer a lifeline to a rapidly growing number of people, but are facing an immense challenge to continue supporting those hardest hit by the current situation.  

Here are a few ways you can support Bristol community food projects this winter and beyond, to ensure they can continue the vital work they do.  

  1. Buy a ‘pay-it-forward’ meal 

The Heart of BS13 community freezer, based at Hartcliffe city farm, offers free home-cooked frozen meals to BS13 residents in need of support, up to two meals per person per week for eight weeks.  

The community freezer provides essential support to an area classed as a food desert, where one in eight households are experiencing challenges accessing food.  

Heart of BS13 offers a ‘pay-it-forward’ meal range, frozen meals are available for purchase in stores across Bristol and online, purchasing these helps fund the community freezer and allows Heart of BS13 to continue supporting those in need.  

  1. Eat at a pay-what-you-can café  

St Marks Community Café in Easton offers free and low-cost meals, snacks and hot drinks to people in need, as well as a safe and welcoming space to enjoy them in.  

The café wants to attract more paying customers so that they can continue to support vulnerable and severely food insecure people. 

By simply popping in for a bite to eat, you can help the café remain a safety net for the community.  

Vegetables in a veg box
  1. Buy a solidarity veg box  

Windmill Hill City Farm runs a veg box scheme from community farms in Bedminster and Hartcliffe, available on the We are BS3 website. On offer are standard veg boxes, and a low-cost option for anyone who can’t afford the standard price. 

You can purchase a ‘pay-it-forward’ box for one week to support a household in need instead of receiving a box, or a ‘solidarity’ box where you receive a box and also provide a box for another household.  

There are many other ways to support community food projects in Bristol, through donations and funding assistance to projects such as food banks, food clubs and community kitchens, or volunteering your time to help keep these projects running. These are just some ways that you can integrate supporting vital food initiatives into your daily life, while also supporting the creation of a local food system that is fair, sustainable and resilient.  

Go to the Your Bristol Good Food Questions section of this website if you have any more questions about getting involved in the good food movement in Bristol.

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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