Build a city of food justice: what’s next for the Bristol Local Food Fund?
We’re firmly in harvest season, but in this traditional time of plenty, food insecurity, exacerbated by the cost of living crisis, is continuing to deeply impact people and communities across Bristol.
Since our last flourish of activity, the BLFF team has been taking some time to work towards our next phase of support for people in our city.
A quick recap
Following the first BLFF crowdfunder in late 2021, BLFF awarded £60,000 to 18 community food projects tackling food insecurity across Bristol, with money reaching the projects in early 2023. The funds were awarded using participatory grantmaking, with a Citizens Panel (all paid and expenses covered) of 6 people with lived experience of food insecurity deciding the eligibility criteria for the fund and which projects received support. Successful projects received up to £5,000, depending on the request.
As the year has gone on, grantees have been submitting reports detailing how they’ve spent the funds, and we’ve been inspired and heartened to learn about the impact they’ve delivered with relatively small amounts of funding. Here are just a few of the quotes:
“The project has helped strengthen the community, involving them in the design and running of the project and therefore making them part of the solution to difficulties they face. The social eating and space to chat at the food clubs has helped build a sense of community and for people to build new connections, where they are able to support each other and build community resilience.” Bristol Somali Youth Voice
“This project has allowed us to create a more sustainable garden, guaranteeing improved quantities of crops which will go straight into the community via the food club at Avonmouth Community Centre.” Edible Bristol
“This grant enabled us to carry out vital community engagement with residents in Hartcliffe and Withywood, and establish the market garden at Hartcliffe City Farm. We’re working with the local community to grow produce together, enabling greater access to affordable, fresh food as well as providing volunteering for wellbeing opportunities.” Hartcliffe City Farm
Amongst some of the things we’ve been grappling with is: how can the funding be most effective; how we could make the Citizens Panel (participatory grantmaking) process better (more inclusive, more decisive, more productive, more engaging) for participants, and; how can we can ensure BLFF funds radical things that help build a city of food justice.
BLFF for the future:
Food insecurity is rising. It’s now a enormous problem in Bristol, with one in 12 households experiencing it. There was also huge demand for the first round of BLFF funding from community groups getting healthy food to local people. We received twice as many applications as we could fund, requesting three times more funding than we had available to give out. So we know that the demand is high and Bristol Local Food Fund is meeting a very significant need in the city.
And we have also been inspired by the fantastic work of the community food projects that did receive funding. Supporting inclusive, community-led solutions to food insecurity leads to a wealth of benefits: stronger societies, local economies, improved health and educational outcomes. The list goes on and on.
So in 2024 we will relaunch fundraising for Bristol Local Food Fund, with a more ambitious fundraising target of £150,000 per year, which will support community food projects that are working to eradicate food insecurity. We plan to continue fundraising for this important work until we have food justice for everyone in Bristol - where everyone can access good quality, nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food. We will align closely with city-wide initiatives, like Bristol Good Food 2030 and the Food Equality Strategy Action Plan to ensure our efforts and resources are effective and impactful.
You can start donating to BLFF right away! Our donation page is now live, and you’ll soon be see our ongoing campaigns online and on the streets. Please give what you can to BLFF to support community food projects across our city, and share the campaign wherever you can.
We’re also very excited about the Anti-Banquet event in February. Led by top Bristol chef Josh Eggleton, in collaboration with Team Canteen, the event will see some of Bristol’s best chefs serving up delicious food to hundreds of guests at Ashton Gate Stadium, with the aim of raising £100,000 for Bristol Local Food Fund. We’re hugely grateful to Josh for initiating this event and bringing the best of Bristol’s food sector together to tackle food insecurity in our city.
The event is taking place on Thursday 29th February 2024. Book your table!
Supporting BLFF So, you’ll see more Bristol Local Food Fund campaign activity, and we hope this will mark a turning point in efforts to make Bristol a city of food justice. Please If you’d like to support BLFF, you can sign up with a regular or one-off donation here: www.bristollocalfoodfund.com/donate
And you can keep up to date with BLFF on social media, website and newsletter here: https://linktr.ee/Bristol_Local_Food_Fund