The 'Eel goes to...Bristol

Picture: Photo by Grow Bristol

Published: 11 Jun 2018

With its festively grimy spirit, Bristol has a subversive flavour to its tradition of ethical food. It was the UK’s first European Green Capital, is home to the Soil Association and is a Sustainable Food City. Ramona Andrews finds grass roots abound.

Gloucester Road has the largest number of independent shops on one road in the UK. The choice is immense. Scoopaway invites you to bring your own containers to save on single-use plastic, Brewers Droop sells all the booze-making kit you could ever dram of and The Fish Shop takes its sustainability credentials very seriously.

The UK’s Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) has its headquarters in the city and just down the road is Windmill Hill City Farm, which has recently extended its café and farm shop. 

Many of the city’s restaurants boast salad leaves from social enterprise The Severn Project, based in the suburb of Whitchurch, which gives employment opportunities to vulnerable people. Restaurant No 1 Harbourside sources Severn Project salads and other produce from the region. Neighbourhood restaurant Birch, in Southville, is another fine eatery that makes use of its own nearby market garden.

Another urban greens project to keep an eye out for is Grow Bristol, with their hydroponically produced leaves harvested from a shipping container garden, at the back of Bristol Temple Meads.

The not-for-profit cookery school and community kitchen Square Food Foundation was set up by chef Barny Haughton and is now based in Knowle in the south of the city, working with teenagers, care home cooks, and elderly and isolated adults. Their Passport to Good Cooking course is great value for money and pays for vital community work.

At-Bristol is one of the best hands-on science museums in the country. In the food exhibit, children can have a go at grinding grain to make flour, take home a recipe from the robot chef ‘RoboChef3000’ and learn more about food, science and the environment in the test kitchen.

Joining the dots across the city is Bristol Food Network, a CIC that “supports, informs and connects individuals, community projects, organisations and businesses who share a vision to transform Bristol into a sustainable food city.”

While you're there...

Sign up for a Bristol Pound account and spend the city’s local currency with indie businesses

Hire a Yo Bike - HMP Bristol prisoners are helping maintain them through the charity Life Cycle

See a show at Bristol Old Vic (the UK’s oldest working theatre) or at Bristol’s newest theatre, The Wardrobe at The Old Market Assembly, which also has a superb #RealBread bakery

Catch the ferry from Temple Meads to the CARGO development at Wapping Wharf, filled with independents and not a chain in sight!

Go on a guided street art tour to discover why many consider Bristol the graffiti capital of the UK 

This article first appeared in The Jellied Eel magazine issue 55, September 2017