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Inclusive grantmaking in the city

Bristol Local Food Fund was launched to improve access to quality, affordable, local food in Bristol by supporting community food projects. Currently run by volunteers, the BLFF is supported by a group of local organisations and businesses who act as strategic partners.

In 2022, after raising £57,000 in a city-wide fundraising campaign, the BLFF established a participatory grantmaking process which put individuals and communities with lived experience of food insecurity at the heart of the funding decision-making.

Community food projects have been bringing neighbourhoods in Bristol together for years, some even decades, working tirelessly to support people impacted by food insecurity and other issues. Although they have arguably come to symbolise resilience in the face of adversity, they are struggling to cope with huge increases in demand and rising food costs. An added strain on resources for many community projects is applying for funding, which is usually very time consuming and competitive.

This is why the Bristol Local Food Fund uses participatory grantmaking – so that the application process is streamlined and the criteria decided on by the communities that the funds seek to support, instead of those with little experience of the challenges facing community projects. As our society is set to keep facing new challenges, it is essential that we build community resilience from the ground up, which must include community decision making, participation and power sharing.

Bristol Local Food Fund is all about empowering Bristolian communities at a grassroots level, supporting the people who are building resilient food communities. It is a great example of food justice working in action, and Feeding Bristol is proud to be one of its strategic partners.

Following the success of the participatory grantmaking, the BLFF is exploring other ways of making local grantmaking processes more accessible. 

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