If you can, buying through local, independent food producers and retailers now will help secure the future of Bristol’s food community, and ensure our city’s food system is more resilient in times ahead.
Shop small and choose independent shops, eateries and bars
The best place to start is your local high street. Supporting the independent shops on your doorstep will help ensure that your local area thrives, and pave the way for new vibrant and diverse businesses to come to the area. Local Facebook groups and neighbourhood networks such as Nextdoor are great ways to start conversations on finding and supporting local hidden gems, or ask neighbours if there’s a local WhatsApp group you can join.
If you want to be confident when you’re eating out that your restaurant is committed to healthy and sustainable food, look for ones that have been awarded the Bristol Eating Better Award.
Buy local food
Bristol Local Food Directory: Find out where to change a pint of foreign lager for a local brew, get your weekly vegetables from just up the road and have your local cake and eat it too! Find farm shops, pubs, shops restaurants and cafes in your area. Share your favourite flavours of Bristol by writing a review.
Bristol Markets: Bristol is host to a whole range of markets, from British-grown fruit and vegetables at affordable prices to luxury local delicacies. Support local producers and businesses and enjoy the best ingredients the region has to offer. Buying direct from the farmer is a great way to make sure they get the best price for their produce and they’ll be able to answer any questions you might have, including tips on how to best cook and prepare their produce.
Food Co-ops: Join forces with a few friends and set up a food co-op. By pooling your buying power you can get produce direct from farmers or wholesalers at prices you couldn’t get on your own.
Veg boxes: Buying a veg box can be a way of supporting a local business, or supporting local and UK growers – often both! We’re lucky to have so many choices in Bristol, from the really locally grown like Heart of BS13, Edible Futures, Leigh Court Farm and The Community Farm, to local businesses like Matter Wholefoods, Irie Veg Boxes and Chi Wholefoods, to nationally available options like Riverford and Abel and Cole. Have a search for one that suits you.
One immediate effect of the Covid-19 pandemic was the rise in support for local businesses. During the pandemic, Bristol City Council produced an Essential shopping map allowing you to search by postcode, street name or ‘near me’ for the location of shops providing essential items in your area. As part of the #BristolFoodKind, Bristol Food Network and other Bristol organisations and individuals encouraged citizens to support local producers and suppliers.
Buy Fair Trade
Supporting local doesn’t always have to mean your local community, it can also mean supporting local-scale production, rather than huge corporations. Choosing Fair Trade means small-scale producers receive a fair price for their work, and that their local communities feel the benefit too.
Community Supported Agriculture
- You can get connected to local growers directly through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and ensure that your food is produced in an ecological and sustainable way. A CSA allows you to make a commitment to a local grower with weekly, monthly or even annual payments, and in return receive a share of the harvest. There are often opportunities to volunteer, fun events and educational courses.
- Explore this map to find out where your local CSAs are, and how you can get involved.
- Local CSA-type projects include Sims Hill Shared Harvest and The Community Farm.