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Mayoral Manifesto 2016 - Food

Bristol is a great city and it can be so much better!

The Green Mayor and Bristol’s Green Party Council candidates wish to see Bristol continue as the leading Green city in the UK with a clear vision of a more sustainable, better future. Our particular focus in 2016 is on Clean and Affordable Energy, A Decent Home for Everyone, 21st Century Education and Skills and Sustainable Transport and Clean Air.

Tony Dyer - Green Party candidate for mayor

 

Good food is vital for good health. We consume increasingly unhealthy food and this has led to a decrease in the quality of life and a staggering rise in diabetes, obesity and related avoidable disease. This causes unnecessary suffering and adds to the burdens on the NHS. A complete food policy combines health, education, procurement and development of local food chains. The Green Mayor would tackle the following issues.

Procurement

The city authority is ultimately responsible for much of the food served in public and city buildings. We would focus procurement to favour locally produced, seasonal and organic produce where possible.  We will examine how to use social value legislation to make this happen. This will strengthen local food chains and provide an economy of scale for local producers and distributors. In turn this will lower the general cost to the public of making local and fresh food more accessible and less costly than the supermarket alternatives.

Food deserts

Food deserts must be addressed; there are many areas of the city that lack the basic provision of a greengrocer and other independent food retailers. The Green Mayor will identify these areas and allow Council-owned properties of relevant size and classification to be rented at a minimal charge to encourage retailers to provide an alternative to supermarkets and boost the status of Bristol’s high streets.

Food Fare

Many people on lower incomes cannot afford to eat healthily – especially with the new reforms to welfare – so now it is more important than ever to make nutritious food available for everyone. The Green Mayor will work with existing charities to support the collection of subsidised and donated food from local producers and vendors. This will include recently out-of-date but perfectly edible food currently thrown away by local supermarkets that can then be delivered to households who cannot afford to feed their families and to homeless shelters.

Children

The Bristol Mayor aims to support and encourage food growing clubs and hands-on classes throughout all the city’s schools. Where possible all schools will have vegetable gardens managed by the children with the produce used in the schools’ own kitchens. In this way, children will learn at school how to cultivate plants and to understand the relationship between themselves, the soil and the food they eat. Cooking healthily and nutrition should form part of the curriculum of every school.

Get growing

The Green Mayor will aim to encourage the practice of local growing programmes and enterprises. Allotments are one way forward; others include city farms and inner-city growing beds, co-operatives, community orchards and local food swap-schemes for growers. All city parks should include growing beds for a range of produce from herbs to vegetables and flowers. Where wasteland lies idle the Green Mayor will encourage people to use it for growing food.

How do we feed Bristol?

The Green Mayor will commission a follow-up report to the excellent ‘Who Feeds Bristol?’ report.  This report will review progress and changes that have taken place since the first report. It will outline the key issues, infrastructure, resources and connections that are needed across the city region to minimise the use of fossil fuels and all other environmentally damaging aspects of our food chain as well as maximise all aspects of food system resilience. Importantly this report should continue to inform the activities and engagement with the Bristol Good Food Plan, and support ongoing development over the next 5-10 years, in the context of increased devolution, climate change impacts, increased pressure on land and water resources and growing populations.

We will adopt the ‘Good Food Action Plan’.

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