Local Food Economy

Finding a good food job in Bristol: Traci Lewis author of “Your Green Career”

By Traci Lewis

Traci moved to Bristol in 1997; she now lives on a houseboat between Bristol and Bath. She is a green career coach, social enterprise consultant, and co-founder of Catalyse Change CIC, who inspire, empower, and upskill young women and non-binary changemakers.

One of my favourite things about Bristol is the fantastic food. It is one of the things that first attracted me to it and brought me back to live here eight years ago.

When I moved down to Cornwall, I missed eating my lunch in St. Nicks market and ended up living in Totnes in Devon, which is like a mini Bristol regarding good food.

Before I moved onto the river last year, I lived just off Gloucester Road, which is blessed with incredible food from around the world. However, I sometimes still work there – from the Future Leap coworking space – so I still enjoy the excellent food from places such as The Gallimaufry, Jack the Falafel, and Harvest. I still get my delicious organic veg box from The Community Farm at Chew Magna delivered here.

What do good food jobs mean to you, and what do they look like in Bristol?

So, due to the rich local food scene here, Bristol has many good food jobs and career opportunities. Good food jobs are sustainable, so good for both people and the planet.

This spans local food production and processing to catering and hospitality. There are also many opportunities in the public sector and with NGOs.

I started my career working for the Soil Association in Bristol – where I worked for 18 years – and many other food-focused charities, social enterprises, and community projects are based here.

What good food projects and jobs have you worked on?

I first worked for the Soil Association’s certification body, helping organic food producers and processors achieve organic status and market their produce.

I then worked on some of their innovative local food programmes around the southwest, including Organic South West and Making Local Food Work, which helped establish local food systems such as Community Supported Agriculture and food coops.

Also, I spent five years working in Plymouth to establish one of the first Sustainable Food City programmes there.

Since 2015 in Bristol, I have worked as a consultant with various local food initiatives. I am working on one now with Bristol Food Producers and Bristol Food Network looking at local food provision in St Nick’s market.

However, my main passion now is leading Catalyse Change CIC. I have just written a book ‘Your Green Career: the handbook for young women and non-binary changemakers’ based on learning from our work over the past eight years.

How can you get into this work?

Job opportunities in food and farming are vast and varied. It all depends on which roles and sectors attract you the most. Research their entry requirements and ideally get some work experience in them first. 

The charity or third sector can always provide helpful volunteering experiences. Just get in touch with local projects which appeal to you and find out how you can help.

My book has practical advice about career pathways in the climate and social justice space. These include how to get an internship or apprenticeship, the power of networking and acing job interviews. However, it also guides you to focus on where your interests and skills lie and how to align those with the environmental or social problems you most want to solve.

Why is it essential to have a book for young women and non-binary changemakers?

We’re in a climate emergency – not that our government appears to realise this  – and we need everyone inspired, equipped, and empowered to make a difference.

We need equal representation where critical decisions are being made for the very survival of our people and planet. However, unfortunately, this isn’t happening when we need it now more than ever.

Women still face many political, economic, and social barriers. We are doing equal work for unequal pay. There is still a severe lack of diverse and gender-balanced representation where power and money are held.

So I wanted to share the learning from our programme more widely as it has had transformational results around confidence, education, and career outcomes.

The book ‘Your Green Career’ is now available in paperback or Kindle directly from Amazon. All proceeds go towards delivering Catalyse Change’s sustainability empowerment and green careers programme. For any queries, contact Traci at traci@catalysechange.com. Find Catalyse Change on Instagram.

The Bristol Food Network website lists volunteer opportunities with community food organisations, and other ways to get involved with volunteering in Bristol.

Bristol Good Food 2030 provides a Good Food Job Update at the beginning of every month – sign up to the Bristol Good Food Update to receive it.

Find Traci on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

Photos by Ursula Billington at Bristol 24/7.

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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