From guinea pig farmers to food-waste recyclers, we had a delightfully mixed bunch of FoodTraders gather at The Art’s House Cafe on Stokes Croft for our monthly celebration of inspiration, collaboration and community.
Q – What’s #FoodTradeTuesday?
A – It’s a monthly event in Bristol designed to nurture collaboration between people growing, selling, making or buying great food.
Firstly, after scoffing the Art’s House’s rustic spread of antipasto morsels, and admiring the mood-lit, eclectically decked-out basement venue, we listened to our first speaker: Sophie Kirk, Sustainability Officer at Bath and North East Somerset Council. Heads cocked and eyes widened as Sophie gave an concise roundup of the huge world of public procurement – an impressive achievement for a 10 minute talk. A whopping £2.4 billion is spent on public catering each year in the UK, and thanks to folks like Sophie, a local food strategy can ensure the money goes straight back into the local economy – into the pockets of hard-working independent producers.
Next to speak was Dan Oliver. Social Entrepreneur, Researcher, and Advisor (to name just a few of his titles!), Dan founded Creative Common, Bristol Energy Co-op and Bristol and Bath Social Enterprise Network. Launching into a multi-layered discussion of local projects and opportunities, Dan showed us what it takes to start a new enterprise or venture – it’s more about ox-strength passion, big ideas and business models than starting capital. Check out his Buy Local Buy Social project for more inspiration.
Looking to Ghandi, Simon Sinek, and David Hieatt, for shining guidance, Tim Griffiths, the third and final speaker of the evening, spun our attendees into an awed silence will poignant tales of bad aid in Haiti and the power of our wallets. Part of the renowned Extract Coffee team, Tim asked us to question what true value really means to us and asked us to look to both our jeans and our coffee beans for the answer. To a room full of food start-ups his pitch was concrete – don’t sell what you do, sell why you do it.
And what else to do after two hours of talking about food? Move on to drink instead, of course! Thanks to everyone that stayed later to carry on the discussions in the upstairs bar. And a big thank you to Antonia at The Arts House for being such a patient and welcoming host. See you all at the next #FoodTradeTuesday!