Food is central to all our lives – it enables our bodies to function, is a great connector to community and different cultures, and can be a source of enormous pleasure.
However, changes to our food system over the last few decades are having a devastating impact on our health, our environment, and the places we live.
The good news is that efforts are being made to change this, and in the UK Bristol is leading the way. Recognised for its innovative food-related projects and practices, in 2016 Bristol became only the second city to be awarded Silver Sustainable Food City status. In May this year Bristol launched its bid for Gold, which has not been awarded to any city…yet.
To be awarded Gold, Bristol needs to show progress in six key action areas, and importantly this needs to be city-wide – it won’t be enough for just those working closely with food to get involved. Organisations can play a key role in this, by changing their own food practices, influencing others, or supporting local initiatives. So, we are calling on organisations of all sizes and sectors to think about their relationship with food and consider what positive changes they could make to contribute to the Going for Gold bid.
To make this easier, the Going for Gold website has lots of suggestions for actions organisations can take across the six action areas. By registering on the site, you can start logging actions your organisation is already taking, what you intend to do, and any changes you have made. The suggested actions include growing something edible in your office, minimising food waste from business meetings and events, using the services of community food projects and offering more meat-free meals. While some of these changes may seem small on their own, when combined with hundreds of actions from organisations across the city, they can have a real impact.
The push for Gold provides a unique opportunity for the city to work together on issues that affect us all. Changes to our food system can lead to better health, ensure soils are protected, help wildlife to flourish, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and allow local communities and businesses to thrive. The award would also strengthen Bristol’s reputation as an innovative, forward-thinking, environmentally sustainable city, and as a desirable place to live, work and visit. Making changes at your organisation can also benefit business, improving the health of employees, increasing staff’s pride in where they work, boosting retention rates and strengthening the local economy.
Bristol Green Capital Partnership is delighted to be helping coordinate the bid alongside Bristol Food Network and Bristol City Council and is happy to speak to any organisations that have questions or want to find out more about the bid. There is a Going for Gold Business Breakfast taking place on 2nd October at Smith & Williamson which is a great opportunity to learn more about how to get involved. You can also email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, or sign up as a member of the Partnership for updates.
Claire Jacob is the Development Manager at Bristol Green Capital Partnership, a network of over 850 organisations that want to work towards Bristol becoming a sustainable city with a high-quality of life for all.