A draft One City Food Equality Strategy for Bristol 2022-2032 consultation


Food equality exists when all people, at all times, have access to nutritious, affordable and appropriate food according to their social, cultural and dietary needs. They are equipped with the resources, skills and knowledge to use and benefit from food, which is sourced from a resilient, fair and environmentally sustainable food system.”

- Our vision for Food Equality - Bristol Food Equality Stakeholder Group, 2021

The Food Equality Strategy 2022-32 is designed to recognise and tackle the issues of rising food inequality in Bristol. Developed out of Bristol’s Going for Gold ‘Sustainable Food City’ campaign, the Strategy builds on work and research that has been carried out over the last two decades. The Strategy and a subsequent Food Equality Action Plan will work alongside other initiatives in the city that seek to tackle poverty and inequality. It will form part of the One City Bristol Good Food 2030 Action Plan, which will be focused on creating a fairer, more resilient, and sustainable local food system, benefitting people and the planet.

The need for this new Strategy has become even clearer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shone a spotlight on the significant inequality that exists in how people access nutritious, affordable, and sustainably sourced produce, both nationally and locally. Coupled with the impact of Brexit and climate change on our national food system and economy, these inequalities will not only continue to exist, but will intensify if we do not act now to ensure an equitable local food system is established. It is the most disadvantaged who will feel the impacts first and most severely when faced with food shortages, price increases, and the breakdown of supply chains.
How did we develop the Strategy?

It was imperative that this strategy was created through a collaboration of key stakeholders throughout the city, including representatives of organisations working both directly and indirectly in all aspects of the food sector, as well as members of the wider community.

Over a period of nine months, we facilitated three stakeholder group meetings and surveys (involving more than 100 individuals representing over 60 organisations) and eight community conversations (involving 38 people) to test and develop the vision for food equality.

Stakeholder group meetings involved discussions on what food inequality looks and feels like, and what the barriers to food equality are. Participants also discussed what the administration and accountability of food equality should be, and how this could be made more inclusive, ensuring the success of the Strategy. The community conversations were targeted at five wards that ranked highest on the 2019 index of multiple deprivation and three community groups at high-risk of food inequality (disabled people, people experiencing homelessness, and asylum seekers and refugees) to provide valuable insights and views from those with lived experience of food inequality. 
Foundations of food equality in Bristol

The results of these meetings, conversations and background research led to the formation of a vision for food equality in Bristol. This vision was distilled into five priority themes that will be the foundation for positive change, providing the building blocks for this strategy:  

Fair, equitable access
Fair access to nutritious and appropriate food

Choice and security
Choice, empowerment, and a feeling of food security

Skills and resources
Equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and facilities in relation to food

Sustainable local food system
A resilient and environmentally sustainable local food system

Food at the heart of decision-making
Food at the heart of community, economy, and city planning

Next steps

The next step in the development of the Strategy is to shape a Food Equality Action Plan (scheduled for early 2022) based on the priority themes above. This will set out a path for positive change, with clear and accountable actions for achieving the vision of food equality in the city. This will be co-created with a representative group including stakeholders, people from communities at risk of food inequality, and those with lived experience. A Steering Group including all of these groups plus community-based Food Equality Champions will oversee this process.

It is important that the aims of the Strategy and Action Plan are monitored and evaluated. This will use a mixture of qualitative and quantitative measures, some of which already exist and others which will need to be developed.

The success of this work relies on the One City approach, where partners from across the city, including Bristol City Council, take ownership of delivery, development and evaluation of the work needed to make a positive impact to the lives of people who live and work in Bristol. By taking a collaborative and co-produced approach we can significantly increase the chances of success of the strategy.

Please go to the next page to answer questions about each of these priorities, and how we as a city aim to achieve them.