Local Food Economy

Better Food’s Phil Haughton receives MBE 

By Ramona Andrews

Phil Haughton, Founder of Better Food, receives MBE in New Year’s Honours List for services to sustainable food initiatives and to the community of Bristol.

Phil Haughton, founder of award-winning Bristol-based organic retailer Better Food has received recognition of his life’s work to create a better and fairer food system. From becoming a Soil Association member at age 14, to establishing four stores championing the best organic, local and ethical food and products, Phil has been a key player in communities, farming and business in the South West.

Fighting for food justice, supporting the hard-working hands of organic farmers and producers, and advocating for the balance of food and nature – these have all been part of Phil’s mission and his passion for over 40 years.

Phil started working the land in 1974, farming organically in a community in Scotland before moving to Bristol in 1981 and working at Windmill Hill City Farm. For several years, he worked with children and adults, teaching them about food and farming. Phil has since devoted his life – embedded in farming, retailing and spreading the organic word – to building a community engaged in creating a better, fairer and more sustainable world for all. Phil has served on the Soil Association Council, was a founding member of The Community Farm in Chew Magna, and has helped support several other Bristol-based food and farming projects.

Better Food was born in 1992 as ‘Phil’s Better Food Campaign’, an organic delivery box scheme. In 2002, he set up Better Food in their current home and first store in St Werburghs. Whiteladies Road, Wapping Wharf and Gloucester Road stores all followed, expanding Phil’s mission of bringing a fairer and more sustainable shopping experience to many. Phil brings his commitment to community building and social justice to Better Food, through the company’s support for Square Food Foundation, Heart of BS13, The Community Farm, and many other causes over the generations.

Phil says: “When I think about what has always got me out of bed, it’s really simple. Justice. I hold a huge passion to see justice done, for our soil, our farmers, our children and all communities.”

“I’m delighted to receive this MBE. I have so much gratitude for our farmers, the Better Food team and our customers for supporting me on this journey of championing sustainable food in Bristol and beyond. I’ve been inspired by many people along the way and it’s an honour to be recognised for the work that I’m so passionate about.”

In 2021, Phil released his first book, Food for Thought, filled with stories, recipes and tips, and sharing his journey to where he is today.

Join Better Food on 24 January for a discussion about the exciting world of plant-based nutrition, presented by health and bodycare advisor and Registered Nutritional Therapist Claire Cohen.

Explore the Bristol Good Food directory to find out which other organisations in the city are helping to make Bristol’s food system better for communities, climate and nature, and how you can connect with them.

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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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