Our idea will demonstrate how social, economic and environmental issues can all be addressed simultaneously to great effect by establishing a route to market for locally grown fresh, and processed food, adding value to, and encouraging the expansion of self help, and community growing schemes including the 'home grow' initiative utilising private gardens. Our idea is also very exciting; to create an alternative supermarket model, The Good FoodMarket, that directly links local food supply chains to community consumers, delivering healthy, affordable food to people living in disadvantaged urban areas.
Good FoodMarkets will be built primarily in urban food desserts; districts devoid of access to affordable, good quality, fresh produce, such as Filwood in South Bristol where the first store will be located. Local residents have already identified the need for a supermarket here during a consultation process leading up to publication of the Council’s ‘Filwood Broadway Framework’, that sees a supermarket as the catalyst for attracting inward investment to the area. Albeit our main focus will be on serving poor communities, we will also consider building Good FoodMarkets in more affluent areas where there is a demand for this model of food marketing. We have already attracted enquiries about our Big Idea from communities in Redcliffe and Lawrence Weston demonstrating that Our Big Idea does indeed create excitement within local communities.
Good FoodMarkets will look like, and feel like what people expect of a medium sized supermarket situated in a residential area but, alongside shelves of standard supermarket food and household goods, there will be franchisee stalls available to rent where local groups can market home grown, and processed produce, such as chutneys. We will also provide space for local individuals and organisations to offer peripatetic health and wellbeing services, and small business services. For example in addition to the fresh produce stalls, we could incorporate a permanent pitch for a small pharmacy, and rotate other local services throughout the week, such as cookery and nutrition classes on Wednesdays, on Thursdays a cobblers and key cutters, and Fridays, a hair and beauty salon, or nail bar.
Bristol will be the first city to pioneer Good FoodMarkets in food deserts. As they expand across the country, stores will be seen as big business going green and very ethical, because embracing these credentials is good for people, good for business and good for the environment. Each store will be managed by an individual with a track record in retail and marketing who is well practiced in negotiating favourable stock prices for essential supermarket items with major suppliers. The key difference is that whilst aiming for an operational profit, we will be building resilience into the community; providing good jobs (jobs that pay well - the living wage - with good working conditions), championing local enterprises and, above all promoting healthy eating.
The project will rely on the experience and expertise of people from a wide range of sectors to drive it forward. Mark Goodway, former media company executive and Founder / Director of The Matthew Tree Project/FOODTURES, is co-author of the Good FoodMarket concept. He has a deep and outstanding grasp of food poverty, its root causes and remedies, and during the past year has fed 7,450 destitute people through his chain of FoodStores in Bristol. His unique approach to tackling food poverty by offering auxiliary services such as malnutrition screening, debt management and cookery courses to food poor families, has attracted national media attention from the Guardian to BBC’s Panorama, as well as a plethora of local coverage. Mark’s marketing experience is essential, not only to spark media interest in our Big Idea, but also to convey our message succinctly and clearly in order to capture the synergy that exists between Good FoodMarkets and Local Food Movements.
Within the retail food sector, we are seeking a big name sponsor to spearhead our concept; an innovative entrepreneur who has both experience and a pioneering spirit with a social edge, who will project our message effectively and attract investment into the business. We are already fortunate to have Phil Haughton on our team, the Founder of the ethical supermarket chain in Bristol, The Better Food Company, who has over 20 year’s experience in food retailing. He also co-founded The Community Farm at Chew Magna and has an impressive and extensive knowledge of the organic food and farming sector.
Local people will, however, be the cornerstone of Good FoodMarkets because it is through combining both the knowledge and expertise found in commercial and community sectors that real and lasting benefits can be achieved. In addition to bringing in local franchisees, Good FoodMarkets will also employ local people throughout the business, particularly youngsters seeking their first job, and we are also keen to bring neighbourhood institutions on side to spread the word about our stores. In the 1990’s public support by Churches for Fair Trade coffee catapulted FT coffee sales into the top ten list of supermarket products sold, generating huge public interest in ethical trading. Mark Goodway has very strong links with the local church/faith community and is in a strong position to gain Church support to promote our idea.
Both home grown community support agencies and national third sector organisations in Knowle West have offered their support to Good FoodMarkets: The Park Centre that provides skills and fitness training; Knowle West Media Centre that specialises in capturing community driven initiatives on social and multi media platforms, and The Inns Court Community Centre is one of the founding members of the local 'home grow' initiative. Other non-government funded support is provided by Jacqui Reeves, Director of Fare Share South West, an organisation committed to addressing the issue of food waste within the food industry. We are also pleased to announce support for our Big Idea from The Food Policy Council, The Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, and Councillors Jeff Lovell, and Daniella Radice who is also part of our 'Good FoodMarkets' Team. Other Team members include Dr Angela Raffle (NHS Public Health), Jacquie Reeves (Fare Share) and Mark Goodway and Phil Haughton as mentioned earlier.
Why the contribution is important
The main impact of our Big Idea is that families in poor areas need no longer rely on food aid during times of hardship (i.e. food banks), or harm their health by eating junk food because they know no better. Changing the prevailing food culture that favours convenience, or ‘junk food’, particularly in poor areas, will not be easy. The process will begin with Good FoodMarket food franchisees; the individuals who know most about the cost of growing and processing their own produce, as well as the size and nature of the local market place in which they operate. Driven by the need to develop a commercially viable business, theirs is an inbuilt incentive to teach customers, members of their community, about the benefits of eating good quality, healthy, locally produced food; capturing that good food ‘feel good’ factor. This will be backed up in-store by cookery demonstrations illustrating how easy it is to turn out a simple, nutritious vegetable stir-fry at very little cost. Fresh produce will also be sold loose enabling shoppers to buy what they need, helping to reduce food waste and keep the cost of buying fresh ingredients down.
As it is the Council’s intention to locate the area’s main shopping centre in Filwood Broadway to attract retailers to invest there, the Good FoodMarket will not only add value to the development but also deliver money saving health and wellbeing benefits to the area, delivering significant government efficiencies. The Good FoodMarket is also the ultimate community engagement idea, harnessing local assets and capabilities to make the idea work, and in return furnishing local job opportunities, encouraging entrepreneurship, and stimulating yet more local food production and healthy food consumption, with all the concomitant environmental and health benefits attached to these practices.
The aim is to create a real market in food working to benefit local people, encouraging communities to become a nation of growers and consumers of good food, thus enhancing individual’s resilience to food poverty, improving public health and enabling communities to tackle food deserts through their own initiative. Today in the UK we rely on imported food to ensure this island’s food security. It is a tenuous path we tread, and in the long term learning about the true value of home grown, good quality, fresh and nutritious food will be a game changer, one that increases our food security and helps to preserve our environment for generations to come.
Our Big Idea also calls for a change in the cultural attitude to food in England that has seen diets increasingly dominated by food that is bad for people’s health. Nutritionally poor diets are associated with the onset of obesity, heart disease, stoke, some cancers and increased risk of falls and fractures, whilst fresh food including vegetables and fruit are vital to achieving a healthy diet. Within the UK, DeFRA points out that from 2007 to 2010 ‘lowest income households cut their fruit and veg spending by 20%’ and today 69,500 citizens living on low incomes in Bristol are vulnerable to malnutrition caused not only by a lack of food intake, but also due the consumption of low nutrient rich diets. This is not entirely surprising as junk food is widely available, relatively cheap, filling, and requires little cooking or preparation time.
A report, ‘Who Feeds Bristol – Towards a Resilient Food Plan’, published in 2011, points out that the data available to compile a citywide Food Map in relation to the stores carrying fresh produce, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, or ‘cook from scratch’ food stuffs in Bristol requires further work in order to categorically identify areas we may call food deserts. Indeed, the term ‘food desert’ is rarely used in England but the concept commonly refers to less affluent areas where there is less diversity of food retail, and it is probably the lack of affluence that causes the loss of shops. Filwood with a population of 12,300, has six districts that fall within the top 10% worst off areas in England in terms of multiple deprivation and is also classified as the most deprived ward in Bristol for access to fresh produce, followed by 5 other wards in low income areas of the City.
It is also possible that the issue may be more wide spread than this, as the Council’s ‘Quality of Life’ survey in 2008 identified 7 wards in deprived areas where residents reported poor access to fresh food. This provides us with some indication of the extent of ‘food desserts’ in Bristol, a relatively small and affluent metropolis with a population of around 617,500. Across less affluent English cities, limited access to fresh produce may indeed be more prevalent. Within Bristol, we are however fortunate that since Mayor George Ferguson established a Food Portfolio within the Council’s cabinet in 2012, the issue of how Bristol feeds itself sustainably is at last on the map. This is a first step towards combating food poverty in all its manifestations in the City and our purpose is to demonstrate that Good FoodMarkets will make a meaningful contribution towards achieving this end.
Regarding the viability of our concept, given that the Council framework is in place for the development of a retail centre with a supermarket in Filwood Broadway, our Big Idea is achievable. We estimate the time frame for delivery will be mid 2015 within a budget range of between £1.5 and £2.25 million at a base cost of £150 per square meter to design and build a zero carbon or better, solar panel covered construction of a 10,000 to 15,000 square feet, preferably the latter. And winning funding from the Mayor’s Big Idea would undoubtedly help us to lever in the additional financing required to complete the project.
The 'Good FoodMarket' concept can also be readily adapted to serve food deserts, whether in poor or more affluent areas across the UK and Europe. As current methods of food farming come under threat from climate change, particularly in areas where large scale mono-cropping is favoured, the ability of the Good FoodMarket concept to adjust to local conditions and take the local community along with it, is of major significance to the security of food supplies in the future.
by user928631 on December 23, 2013 at 03:16PM