World Hunger Day: Bristol’s plans to tackle food poverty

Main image: Children having cookery lessons at Knowle West charity Square Food Foundation (SFF). Picture SFF.

Food Equality Strategy to help Bristol’s families

To mark World Hunger Day (28 May) – Bristol City Council has confirmed its commitment to help around 10,000 households in the city that are experiencing food poverty.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol has already made a pledge to develop a Food Equality Strategy and a Bristol 2030 Good Food Action Plan.

The council will be working with Feeding Bristol on this, as well as organisations and communities in a One City approach.

World Hunger Day is an annual national initiative created by The Hunger Project to raise awareness of the more than 690 million people worldwide living in chronic hunger due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food poverty is the inability to afford, or to have access to, food to make up a healthy diet and is about the quality, as well as quantity of food.

It is caused by multiple financial, social and physical factors, such as cost, access and the marketing of unhealthy foods.

Going for Gold

Mayor Rees said: “We know the reality is that food insecurity affects all kinds of people and neighbourhoods in Bristol.

“That’s why as part of our Going for Gold partnership, policy makers and community organisations across Bristol are working together to tackle the causes of food insecurity.

“This includes redistributing surplus edible food, growing food in community plots to provide meals or fresh produce to people who need it, and giving people the skills, they need to be able to grow and cook healthy, affordable food…”

The council also plans to deliver a Green Space and Allotments Strategy which encourages local food producers in every ward to help tackle food poverty.

They will also introduce a ‘rent freeze’ for allotments and create a network so owners can easily contribute to local food growing projects and foodbanks.

Director of Feeding Bristol Ped Asgarian, said the ongoing Good Food Movement in the city during the pandemic was helping to tackle food inequality head-on.

The charity was formed in 2017 in response to a statement made by the Mayor Rees, when he said publicly “no child should go to school hungry”.

Image Feeding Bristol.

Mr Asgarian said: “The increased levels of food insecurity experienced by many residents in the most vulnerable wards and communities in Bristol during the pandemic have provided valuable insight into the extent of hidden food poverty.

“We are now looking to tackle through the development of a Food Equality Strategy and Action Plan…”

‘Learning to cook is a gateway to a world of knowledge…’

Barny Haughton MBE, is Director and Founder of the Square Food Foundation in Knowle West, a charity which teaches people from all walks of life to cook good food from scratch.

He said: “We believe that learning how to cook is a gateway to a world of knowledge, confidence and empowerment beyond just a life skill and healthier eating.

“It connects individuals, families and communities in the most obvious and brilliants ways. It brings an understanding about the bigger food landscape and our place in it…” 

Square Food has prepared and distributed over 20,000 meals for local families at risk of hunger during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Knowle West also has three Food Clubs which have also been helping to tackle food poverty – where families can get good quality food at low cost.