I want to make three main points:

  1. The recent International Panel on Climate Change report demonstrated how urgent it is for us to step up our action on Climate Change.
  2. Food is playing a large part in this crisis – and related health crisis, but can also be part of the solution.
  3. There are many things we can all do to make a difference. A lot is already happening in Bridport area, and we can do more.

Some takeaways from the IPPC report (Sustain):

  • Weather is more unpredictable – this affects crops
  • Warming is happening more rapidly than previously thought. We need to adapt. Given that UK produces only 17% of fruit and about ½ veg we consume, and our imports are from countries which will suffer most, we both should and can produce more ourselves
  • Methane, and other gases are playing an increasingly important role. But that’s about the way in which many farmers produce food. The good news is that in the Southwest we have many pioneering agro-ecological farmers who do look after the soil and the environment.
  • While humans are to blame, we’re also part of the solution.
  • Local Action really makes a difference.

Here are some suggestions of practical actions we can take:

Get involved in campaigning and education

Local branches of national farming and environmental orgs (FoE, XR), and county-wide such as Dorset CAN, which push for the right policy framework for carbon reduction and climate adaptation. Local Educational initiatives to get involved in e.g. Discover Farming, Edible Gardens.

We can think about How and Where we shop

  • buy more local produce, so the food travels less miles and uses less fossil fuel:

local champions of this include the Bridport Local Food Group, Totally Locally & Chamber of Commerce; Champion a Dorset Diet whereby 80% of our food comes from within 30 miles?

  • We must support the farmers that do use practices that nourish the soil and at same time produce food that is healthy for us
    • e.g. Tamarisk Farm, Bothen Hill, Springtail,
    • Buy from the farm gate, and take advantage of our fabulous Market

We can think about what we choose to eat ….

  • Eat seasonal produce,
  • Eat less and higher welfare meat and dairy

We can grow more of our own produce – and use methods and crops which are good in a volatile and warming climate – see www.bridportfoodmatters.net

  • Become an Allotment Ambassador – if you are willing to share experience and experiments.
  • Get involved in comm orchard & allotments; Allotment Society; Cowshed Plot 17 plot at Medical Centre, etc.

Last but not least, we can get involved in Community initiatives, e.g:

  • help Reduce waste: an astonishing 20- 30% household food is thrown away. Various initiatives to learn ways to use all ingredients, re-use leftovers, preserve food – W.I has championed, several people run workshops e.g. Vital Roots; and other initiatives to share gluts e.g. stall @ St Swithun’s – takes surpluses from allotments and gardens, supermarkets, and local restaurants provide meals
  • As food prices rise it’s increasingly important to support the food bank & other affordable food initiatives. Bridport has 3 or 4, taking fresh as well as dry food.
  • Various new ideas are being hatchedincluding a Co-Op & a Community Hub

Bridport Food Matters website https://www.bridportfoodmatters.net/ has information about these local initiatives. They are mostly run by volunteers and welcome more participation.

I’ve mentioned some things already happening – you’ll have more ideas and plans – lets discuss them and see how we can step up the action, together.

Local Action really does make a difference. Food is a wonderful way to bring people together.  And this can be enjoyable and benefit our health and wellbeing. Seems like a win-win to me!

Bridport Food Matters provides information and joins up dots of what’s happening food-wise in Bridport area. It is a network group involving Bridport Local Food Group, Transition Town Bridport, and Seeding Our Future as main partners. BFM issues a newsletter.

Candida Blaker. bridportfoodmatters@gmail.com