NuFEAST research reveals how lucky we are in Bridport

NuFEAST research reveals how lucky we are in Bridport

Over the summer 36 Bridport residents took part in four focus groups looking at what makes our food culture special and what we can do to preserve and strengthen it.The research project, NuFEAST, led by Bournemouth academic and nutritionist Dr Juliet Wiseman sets out to explore how sustainable food and eating practices, including growing food at home, in community gardens and allotments, is associated with food knowledge, confidence and skills and “nutritional well-being.”

Focus groups were held at Waitrose, St Mary’s School, Mountfield and the Flourish Pop-up Wellbeing Cafe. Each one drew quite a different crowd and so made for very stimulating conversations. The sessions were all filmed and are currently in the process of being transcribed and analysed.

Initial findings suggest that Bridport is fortunate to have retained so many independent food and drink producers and retailers which provides shoppers with the opportunity to buy and enjoy good local food. This is certainly not the case everywhere and the human scale of Bridport’s centre is also key to an enjoyable shopping experience.

Bridport’s reputation for great food is the result of the huge efforts of many people over many years and is supported by a special ecosystem of small-scale producers who are also active land rights campaigners. The influence of River Cottage, Trill Farm and nearby Tamarisk Farm, the first organic farm in the area, also plays a major role.

A strong Grow Your Own culture also exists and complements the sense of community people feel when they are able to actually meet and develop relationships with food producers and retailers. So much so that some participants had even moved to the area because of how impressed they are by the food culture here.

But there are also tensions – particpants felt food can also be socially divisive and easy access to good food isn’t universal. Engaging working parents can be tricky when it takes time, money, knowledge and confidence to make the most of the great produce on offer.

One thing is for sure: closer collaboration between food producers, retailers, educators, academics and policy makers is certainly necessary if the diverse and rich food culture in Bridport is to be strengthened and preserved. Watch this space!

St Mary’s Edible Garden students celebrate with homemade pizza!

St Mary’s Edible Garden students celebrate with homemade pizza!

Thirty one Year One students at St. Mary’s Primary School recently had their very own homemade pizza fest.  The  Edible Garden staff team Tia Perrella, Mitch Burt (pictured) and Sarah Wilberforce lit the cob oven ready to bake pizzas for the whole class and together with teacher, Claire Legg, they helped each child to make a pizza from scratch.

This practical connection with food and cooking is part of the ongoing HOME in Bridport project at the school where  children, teachers and parents work together to understand where food comes from, how it is vital to our lives and how the choices we make affect our health and wellbeing.

The project is now also providing nurture sessions in the garden, as well as continuing to provide the school kitchen fresh vegetables each week.  Civic dignitaries from all the Dorset towns visited recently and were highly impressed with the School and its focus on good food.

Food Festival AGM and Front of House Awards

Food Festival AGM and Front of House Awards

Bridport Local Food Group Annual General Meeting & Celebration of Local Food

Wednesday 16th November 2016 in the Town Hall Bridport

Bridport Local Food Group, the committee of volunteers who organise the annual Bridport Food Festival, invite individuals and businesses interested in local food to attend the AGM.

The event will highlight achievements over the last year and be an opportunity to thank sponsors and supporters of this year’s Food Festival. We also welcome those who would like to find out about either joining the Food Group or possibly sponsoring next year’s festival, which runs from Sunday 11 June to Saturday 17 June 2017.

The winners of the Bridport Local Food Group Front of House Awards will be awarded at the AGM. The aim of the award is to show recognition and appreciation of individuals who work locally within the food and drink industry. The categories are restaurants, pubs/bars, cafes, food to go and food and drink retail. All candidates have been nominated by the general public impressed with the level of service received from them when dining out, having a drink or shopping in one of the many food outlets in the area. The winner of each category receives £50 and a plaque to display in their premises.

If you are interested in attending the AGM please contact Jay Anderson, Chairman, Bridport Local Food Group on 07907 844919 or

Community dinners and live crowdfunding raise £1500 for good causes

Community dinners and live crowdfunding raise £1500 for good causes

The first ever Bridport Soup live crowdfunder attracted an amazing 75 enthusiastic diners and was won by Community Youth Project (CYP). They walked away with £650 to boost their campaign to raise awareness of the Trick Factory’s need to relocate and their search for a new site. They recently held their own fundraiser on the Arts Centre forecourt and raised a further £380. Joe Hewetsen from CYP had this to say: “The real victory was creating a feeling of optimism and it is what we do with this momentum now that will be important as one event won’t bring back the Trick Factory.” At the Soup, CYP linked up with fellow pitchers Kitchen Collective who kept skaters nourished and hydrated throughout the day. To support CYP, find out more here.

Another group of pitchers at the Soup were Team Calais, Bridport’s Refugee Solidarity group. They went on to host their own fundraising dinner, serving a typical Jungle meal to 70 diners who came along to hear Sushila Dhall from Refugee Resource speak about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK today. They raised a whopping £915 which will directly support destitute people in crisis this winter.

Both the Soup and Team Calais’ meals were generously sponsored by local businesses donating ingredients and we would like to thank Fruits of the Earth, Bridgets Market, Nina’s, Ourganics, Leakers Bakery, the Co-op and Morrisons for supporting these amazing community events.

If you’d like to get involved in the next Soup planned for 19th January, get in touch with

Shift 10% or Spend a Tenner Locally!

Shift 10% or Spend a Tenner Locally!

Long time readers of this newsletter will be familiar with the rallying call to Spend A Tenner Locally on locally and sustainably produced food, independently retailed.

Well, now it’s official! Our research for How Can Bridport Feed Itself? has revealed that the 9,180 households in Bridport spend half a million pounds of week on food and drink (not including takeaway and ‘going out’ figures).

£23.5 million or 71% of this annual food and drink spend is spent in large supermarket chains and leaves the area immediately. However, every £10 we spend locally is actually worth £17.60 to the local economy because money is re-spent locally and retained much longer.

If all 9000+ households in town shifted just 10% of the weekly food shop to independent retail outlets we could inject a huge £2.6 million a year boost to our local economy.

Put another way: based on our data, if 10% (£2.6m) of the spend that currently goes to the supermarkets (£25.9m) was spent at local independent food retailers, using the local multiplier of 2.5, it also means that £6.25 million would be re-spent into the local economy. And this could translate into 54 jobs…

Pound for pound, local shops support nearly three times the number of jobs as supermarkets. That is one job for every £46,000 of annual turnover compared to one job for every £144,000 at supermarkets.

So if you are a fan of apples and pears, put your money where your mouth is this week and get down to Bridgets Market who have told us: “We now have an excellent array of Elwell Farm apples and pears in stock, 11 different varieties with more to follow, all priced the same so customers can mix and match as they wish.”

A great way to spend a tenner locally!


How Can Bridport Feed Itself?

How Can Bridport Feed Itself?

Food Future Bridport - Towards a sustainable food future in BridportThe foodfuture Bridport network goes from strength to strength as a new group of local food stakeholders act on the People’s Wishlist for the future of food and start to crowdsource an answer to the question: How Can Bridport Feed Itself?

A workshop of the same name took place in September highlighting some key facts about Bridport’s local food economy and taking a deeper look at the economics of food in our town.

The How Can Bridport Feed Itself? (HCBFI) research sets out to quantify the current value of our local food and drink economy, identifying the number and types of jobs in food, weighing up the economic benefit to the town if our food system was even more local. This approach is bottom–up and people-centred, and intended to complement established Economic Development plans.

Key findings uncovered by How Can Bridport Feed Itself? research so far:

The Bridport area’s local food and drink economy has around 300 businesses, employs 2,000 people and is worth £99.2m per year.

27% of employed people in the Bridport area work in the food and drink sector. This is twice the national average of 13% for England and Wales, and significantly more than the 17% average for West Dorset.

81% of food & drink businesses in Bridport are micros with fewer than nine employees.

Annual food spend in Bridport and surrounds breaks downs like this:

£32 million – the annual expenditure on food and drink by Bridport’s 9,120 households (home consumption, not including spend in restaurants/bars/takeaways).

£23.5 million or 71% of the £32.9m food and drink spend of each household is spent in large supermarket chains.

Up to 24% or £7.9m is spent in independents.

5% is spent online.

A key outcome of the event was the following Vision Statement:

“We want a joined up local food economy that produces more fruit & vegetables; supports local livelihoods and increases community wellbeing; promotes greater access to healthy, seasonal food for everyone; encourages and supports new farmers and food enterprises; and in ways that protect and regenerate the natural environment.”

You can request the How Can Bridport Feed Itself initial event report and take part in a follow up meeting planned for Wednesday 7th December where we will ask food projects to come forward and pitch their ideas to garner wider support.To book your place find out more contact