Press Release   2 November, 2015

Launch of new Bristol Food Producers group

A new membership network for local food producers will be officially launched in Bristol on 26th November, at the first Bristol Food Producer’s Gathering. This open event will bring together all those who wish to work collaboratively to support local, sustainable food production in the city and surrounding region.

Nessie Reid, the Gathering’s co-organiser explains; “Bristol is showing enormous potential to become a pioneer for the UK’s local, sustainable food movement and go beyond ‘business as usual’. The newly emerging Bristol Food Producers group is creating a membership structure to link and support existing and new food producers, processors and distributors in and around the city. The membership will come with useful discounts and offers, but most important is the solidarity we hope to create around practical and strategic approaches to scaling up food production in and around Bristol.”

Existing food producers and processors are encouraged to attend, along with distributors, retailers and anyone who is interested in helping to develop a resilient local food system. The Gathering will feature a number of workshops that present new research and ideas, and offer marketing and enterprise advice; and there will also be plenty of networking opportunities on the day.

The Bristol Food Producers concept emerged from the findings of the Who Feeds Bristol? report which highlighted how an estimated 2,000 hectares of land in Bristol could be used for food growing, producing several thousand tonnes of produce, with a cash value of several million pounds to the local economy. Despite this, around 84% of food and grocery retail sales in the Bristol city region still take place in the 100 or so stores stores owned by the five major supermarkets. Bristol Food Producers was awarded Green Capital funding to start work on collaborative, strategic and practical approaches that will lead to an increase in the viability and scale of local food production. From land matching to more enterprise skills for growers, collaborative distribution workshops to scoping a local food brand, work has been going on throughout 2015 to lay the foundations of a new producer-led organisation.

Joy Carey, author of the Who Feeds Bristol? report, said; “This is an exciting development for the provision of local food in the city – Bristol Food Producers are the practical delivery arm of the Bristol Food Network. They can help realise our city’s Good Food Plan of increased urban food production and distribution, by enabling more collaboration and coordination between the people involved, thus helping to drive both supply and demand.”

The workshops on offer at the gathering include topics such as setting up a local food brand; collaborative distribution; building enterprise skills; how to find land; and marketing your products. There will also be opportunities to feed into the future direction of the organisation. The day will mark the official launch of membership scheme and there will be information stands and networking opportunities, with refreshments and (a local) lunch provided. Places are limited so book soon:

Listing: Bristol Food Producers Gathering, Thu 26th November, 9.30-15.00, Hamilton House, BS1 3QY, £5

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