Bristol’s bid to become a Gold Sustainable Food City by 2020

Today’s guest blog is from the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Asher Craig, who is responsible for communities, equalities and public health

As one of only four cities in the UK to achieve a Silver award, Bristol is now making a bold bid for Gold standard, aiming to become a Sustainable Food City (SFC) by the end of 2020. ‘Going for Gold’ involves a city-wide effort to make lasting improvements to the way we grow, buy and eat food in Bristol.

Our Going for Gold (G4G) bid will establish Bristol as both a national and an international leader in sustainable food. We want the whole city to rally together and take action – with citizens, organisations and policy makers all working together to reach Gold.

There is a collective energy calling for food that’s good for people, our planet and our city to be made available to everyone in Bristol, and because it matters to our health, our economy, our resilience, our environment and to our children’s future. In a city where 24% of children are living in income deprived households, we must tackle this challenge.

The food system is responsible for some 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to eating less meat, reducing food waste is ranked as the third most effective action to address global warming.

We also know that around two billion people across the world lack access to nutritious and healthy food. Food systems all over the world have fostered ultra-processed food (fast food), and people choose these because they are cheap. But they are not nutritious or healthy.

Cities have become an important agent for change, and for the first time 54% of the world’s population lives in cities, with this expected to rise to 70% by 2050.

Concerns over post-Brexit food costs and security of supply suggest that re-localising our system will help us to secure the livelihoods of food producers, as well as increasing the UK’s future resilience. We need to find local solutions to global challenges.

To help us accelerate our G4G ambitions, I will be exploring opportunities to collaborate with the newly opened World Sustainable Urban Food Centre of Valencia (CEMAS), for which I had the honour of representing Bristol, at their opening ceremony held in the Spanish city, last month.

Valencia is the new international hub for best practice in food sustainability systems and is dedicated to managing and sharing the knowledge, to help guide other cities – like Bristol – towards successful, sustainable food systems.

Cities all over the world are now attempting to develop food strategies and take action – Bristol is already recognised for its positive work, and now G4G will help further the city’s reputation, with its citizens reaping the benefits.

To gain Gold SFC status, we need to take collective action in six key food action areas:

  • Buy better;
  • Eat better;
  • Reduce food waste;
  • Grow more nature-friendly food in the city;
  • Support the food community;
  • Promote food equality.

Working together, we can create measurable and sustainable change to the city’s food system by targeting these six key areas.

As part of the bid for Gold, we also need to demonstrate that we are a national exemplar in two food action areas. We have chosen Reducing Food Waste and Catering Procurement (how we source and purchase food and catering contracts).

We are aiming to become a Zero Food Waste City by reducing and recycling our food waste and improving our catering and procurement processes through increased uptake of recognised procurement accreditations, as well as buying more from local food producers.

We want big and lasting changes to our food system in Bristol, ones that will make a positive difference to our communities, our environment and our workplaces. Visit our interactive Going for Gold website where you can log your food actions and help Bristol Go for Gold!

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