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 candida.blaker@dorsetcommunityaction.org.uk

More Farmers, Better Food: A framework for British Agricultural Policy

More Farmers, Better Food: A framework for British Agricultural Policy

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Farmers’ groups across the board have been critical of the lack of planning from government and ongoing uncertainty which have followed the vote to Leave; the NFU, Tenant Farmers Association and a coalition of environment, public health and anti-poverty groups have all shared their visions for future policy since the vote, but ministers are still unclear on what post-Brexit agricultural support will look like, what the future will be for agri-environment schemes and what its policy priorities will be as the UK negotiates its withdrawal.

“The UK’s small-scale, ecological and family farms are at the heart of our rural culture and communities; they create employment, protect cherished landscapes and provide a huge amount of the food we eat. However, in the past, the UK’s farming strategies have undermined domestic production of healthy, affordable food and left many small farms unfairly disadvantaged in the market place,” say the Landowrkers Alliance.

The LWA is calling for a British Agricultural Policy which embodies the following principles:

  1. Focus on National Food Security
  2. Direct public money to affordable food and good farming
  3. End the discrimination against small farms
  4. Create and maintain decent jobs in farming
  5. Improve environmental and welfare standards
  6. Invest in farmer-led research for resilient solutions
  7. Build markets that work for farmers
  8. Democratize agricultural policy making

Read the full text of the LWA vision here