How can Bridport feed itself?

Posted on Jul 25, 2016


Bridport is known for its vibrant food culture, serving residents and attracting visitors from far and wide. However, many producers and employees in the food sector still operate on low profit margins and low wages. The How Can Bridport Feed Itself? project sets out to quantify the current value of our local food economy, identifying the number and types of jobs in food, and weighing up the economic benefit to the town if our food system was even more local.

“We lack hard, contemporary data on the real economic value of Bridport’s food sector,” says Candida Blaker, project co-ordinator. “Where do people spend their money on food? How much of this is local food from local businesses? And what’s the potential to shift towards a more circular economy? This would keep more of the money we spend on food circulating locally, thus increasing levels of income and creating more jobs. These are the kinds of questions we will be asking”

Building on existing research, and on community engagement work by Linda Hull on the People’s Wishlist for the Future of Food and the Spend a Tenner Locally campaign, CLS partners are now seeking to engage businesses directly on what would make the food economy healthier.  “In particular, we’re keen to examine how the lively food sector here could offer more high quality opportunities for the youth,” says Jonny Gordon Farleigh, project researcher. “There is great potential to stem the flow of our young people away from the area by investing in strengthening our local food system.”

How Can Bridport Feed Itself? aims to:

  • Provide evidence for strategic plans for food and drink locally;
  • Publish baseline data and a set of indicators to show change over time;
  • Identify activities to take advantage of economic opportunities within the next 3 years;
  • Strengthen and enhance local supply chains;
  • Build a coalition of partners to turn these opportunities into reality;
  • Help to secure investment.

“We hope the “How Can Bridport Feed Itself?” study will put the food economy and food security firmly on the agenda and dovetail into Bridport’s new Economic Plan,” says Linda Hull, project researcher. To answer this question and others, CLS will be staging a Stakeholder Forum in mid-September in central Bridport to hear from various unique perspectives and to pool expertise. “It’s very timely work as we begin to grapple with the post Brexit implications for food and we hope it will generate project initiatives for inclusion in future funding bids.”

If you have access to data that could be useful, or would like to get involved or find out more, please contact Candida.blaker@dorsetcommunityaction.org.uk or Tel: 07917 476196