A city’s approach to food justice
A legacy of Bristol’s Going for Gold ‘Sustainable Food City’ campaign, the Strategy and Action Plan have been co-produced with over 80 groups and organisations from across the city and with citizens who have lived experience of food inequality. Working together for food justice is at the heart of the Strategy and Action Plan, and we have sought to create a collaborative, inclusive and accessible process throughout the development and delivery of this work.
The need for this Strategy and Action Plan has been made all the clearer within the context of the rising cost-of-living and the Covid-19 pandemic. These national crises have shone a spotlight on the vast inequality that exists in how we access nutritious, affordable and sustainably sourced food. Compounded by the impact of Brexit on both our national food system and economy, if we do not act to ensure an equitable local food system is established, these inequalities will not only continue to exist, but will intensify.
The Food Equality Strategy and Action Plan works alongside other initiatives in the city that tackle poverty and inequality, and underpins the wider work of ‘Bristol Good Food 2030’.
The Food Equality Strategy outlines five priority areas for achieving food equality in Bristol:
- Fair equitable access: We need to ensure that residents can access food that is appropriate for their dietary needs, is culturally appropriate, and affordable.
- Choice and security: We want to live in a city where everyone can make decisions about their relationship with food and are free from the anxiety and stress of food insecurity.
- Skills and resources: We want to enable residents to foster a healthy food culture, have confidence in their ability to access and use food to meet their needs, as well as the facilities and fuel to cook with.
- Sustainable local food system: We want the local food system to prioritise resilience and sustainability in food production, food waste management, distribution, economy, and environmental resilience.
- Food at the heart of decision-making: We must ensure that food needs and equality are considered in all decision-making – whether developing social support models, new businesses or planning new housing.
These priority areas are intentionally aspirational, but achievable if we work together as a city.
First Steps – the Action Plan
To achieve the goals set out in the Strategy, we need a realistic plan with specific actions that a range of stakeholders across the city can feel empowered to take forward. This is what the Food Equality Action Plan (2023-26) is: a pathway of practical steps to help achieve food equality for Bristol.
The Action Plan is the starting place for making this vision of food equality a reality for Bristol. Structured around the five priority areas of the Strategy, the Action Plan recognises that to achieve food equality we need to innovate as well as build the foundations for change.
To achieve any goal, there must be a first step. With this in mind, the actions presented in the Food Equality Action Plan fall into three categories:
- actions that have already started and are ready to be expanded
- actions that we know must be taken by 2026
- new actions and projects that will be piloted
What happens in 2026?
The Food Equality Action Plan is not a standalone document. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting will take place annually to understand how the actions are progressing, whether improvements are being made, and if more support is needed. Transparency is important, so one of our first jobs is to develop an appropriate and fit-for-purpose monitoring and reporting process. This, along with ongoing conversations with communities and stakeholders, will start to build the data needed to inform what actions will be needed from 2026, when a second three-year action plan will be launched.
If you want to know more about how to get involved, contact us.