Bristol is a prosperous city but the prosperity is not shared by all. Health inequalities and poverty result in a 9 year gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest.
Our idea is to bring the best nutritiously healthy and tasty food to the people who need it most.
Health inequalities and poverty have a devastating impact in the lives and future prospects of our citizens and this is the same in all cities everywhere. In Filwood, one of our poorest communities, there are 42% of children living in poverty, and 37% of the working age population are economically inactive. This results in severe health and social problems that are damaging for our citizens, costly for government and feeds an ongoing cycle of poor children becoming poor adults passing all the same social problems onto the next generation.
It is a sad fact that deprived communities have significantly fewer outlets for fresh healthy food, something that should be a basic right for all, making it unobtainable for those who need it most.
The innovative model brings affordable, nutritious, tasty food to those on low incomes - yet still paying a fair price to producers and above the living wage threshold to employees.
We are doing this by developing a significant new market demand for local food production (food growing and own label food products), thus being a major contributor to the creation of a very high number of new skilled and semi-skilled jobs in the local food sector; by way of an innovative 'stepped' pricing policy (discounts from full price for those on low incomes via a clever membership scheme that protects dignity); by purchasing direct from the producer thereby shortening the supply chain and reducing the number of mark-up's in the supply chain system; keeping it 'local' thereby reducing fuel miles, transportation costs and carbon emissions. The model also creates multiple income streams (not being totally reliant on commercial food sales alone). This all contributes to the financial sustainability of the GFM without being reliant on statutory government funding or grant funding to survive.
Why is this important?
Food is our fuel, and a nutritious diet of good food is vital to being healthy, happy, and self-sufficient with a self-esteem that is built on a hope of a better future with good life chances like everyone else.
At the heart of this initiative model is a not-for-profit 'socially responsible' alternative supermarket (GFM) with the initial pilot proposed location in Filwood Broadway (Bristol's second most deprived ward and in the topmost 10% UK wide). The GFM will look and feel like a regular supermarket, but under the skin it will be completely different...
It will prioritise the sale of locally produced foods; train and employ local people (paying above the living wage threshold and offering good family friendly job conditions); promote responsible food consumption (rather than use tactics to encourage customers to spend as much as possible); and it will also be a social hub providing a range of essential services (i.e. nutrition; cooking from scratch) and enjoyable social activities that embrace the arts, local culture and music.
The forerunner of the actual supermarket development is a weekly good food market located at the Inns Court Centre, less than a mile from the proposed alternative supermarket site. By developing a weekly food market in the Inns Court/Filwood area we will help to introduce local people to the concept of healthy, affordable food available in their locality.
The key issues this innovation will address are health inequality and food poverty and the key outcomes that will be achieved are:
- Improving economic prospects and standards of living
- Improving quality of life
- Improving self-esteem, general wellbeing and basic life skills