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Home > Home Articles > Homepage News > Bristol in the running for Bloomberg prize for local food revolution

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Bristol in the running for Bloomberg prize for local food revolution

Bristol is one of 21 shortlisted European cities for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge award, giving it a chance at winning a prize of between €1m and €5m to spark a local food revolution.

The competition is exclusively open to cities within the European Union with populations over 100,000. The competition invited cities to put forward bold and innovative solutions to urban challenges and winners will receive funding and further support from the Bloomberg team and international innovators network. 

Bristol’s proposition is the ‘Learn, Grow, Eat Revolution’.  It’s an idea which would help bring good, healthy and affordable local food to the residents who need it most.

Bristol’s Mayor, George Ferguson, said: “The Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge is an excellent opportunity to use Bristol’s strengths in the environmental and business sectors to tackle a major social urban issue. 

“Good food is at the heart of a healthy lifestyle and should be available to everyone, irrespective of where they live or how much they earn. This proposal would make good, affordable, local food an absolute reality for many of Bristol’s most disadvantaged areas, especially for those currently fighting food poverty.

“Our shortlisting for this award is a tangible recognition of the vision and capability of the council to initiate change.  If we are successful, I hope that this award will help us to tackle the vital issue of health and wealth inequality and share this learning with others.”

The idea was put forward by Mark Goodway, Founder & Charity Director of The Matthew Tree Project, a Bristol based charity addressing the underlying causes of poverty in the UK. It was posted on Mayor George Ferguson’s online ‘Ideas Lab’, where it was selected as Bristol’s Bloomberg entry. Mark had developed the idea working with a range of local organisations, including the Better Food Company/Chew Valley Community Farm, FareShare South West, Bristol councillors Gus Hoyt and Daniella Radice and Mayor Ferguson.

Since then, Bristol City Council has worked closely with Mark to develop the proposal further, taking account of the wide range of expertise and knowledge in the city and through its partnerships related to the sustainable food agenda.  These include the Bristol Food Policy Council and Bristol Food Network; building upon the BBC Food Connections Festival held earlier this year.

The council has now put forward the final bold plan which would support and encourage people from less advantaged areas to buy and cook fresh healthy food in order to maintain a healthy nutritious diet. The plan aims to overcome traditional barriers including the availability and cost of good food.

The project also supports Bristol’s status as European Green Capital 2015 by supporting sustainable local food production and reducing costly food miles, elements which were further developed during coaching and development sessions with Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners Eurocities, LSECities, Nesta and Deloitte as the refined proposal came to fruition.

The originator of the idea Mark Goodway said: “I was delighted when the Mayor picked our idea from all the submissions to his Ideas Lab to represent Bristol in this Europe-wide competition. Developing and refining the original proposal has been a very rewarding process, and together we’ve created a really strong contender for Bloomberg’s prize.

“I’m proud to live in a city which takes inequality and food poverty seriously and puts this kind of effort in to tackling the issue.  Having an idea is one thing, but having so many people and organisations working together to find a practical solution is something very special.”

If successful in winning funding, the council would work with local people to further encourage and support food growing and production whilst also making local produce far more available to a wide range of communities.  By working in partnership with local growers and providers across the city, the council would introduce several new outlets in areas that currently have limited access to this type of local food, for residents to purchase affordable local produce from.  These will be tested and explored in a range of venues such as children’s centres, stand-alone kiosks and “pop-up shops” and include opportunities to taste and learn through cookery demos and fun cooking events.  

The project would partly rely on the input of local businesses and creative organisations to help improve the food options open to local people, with the council making a concerted effort to encourage their involvement to enable a sustainable whole city approach that supports access to good local food and employment opportunities.

Cllr Gus Hoyt, Bristol City Council’s Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods added: “Bristol already has a strong reputation for being home to some great local businesses which produce high quality fresh food. In order for the Learn, Grow, Eat Revolution to succeed, it would need these businesses to work together with us to make this sector more accessible to less advantaged areas of the city.

“This is a bold proposal which will make a significant contribution to addressing this city’s equality gap.  I do hope the Bloomberg Philanthropies judging panel shows it their support and helps us lead a good food revolution for the benefit of local people.”

Entries to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge are judged on the scope of their vision, potential impact on society, how well the plan can be implemented and its ability to be transferred to other cities so that they too may benefit from the idea.

The winner of the competition will be announced in the autumn of this year.

Alongside the overall winner of €5m, four runners up will also receive €1m each and support to implement and share learning on their projects.