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Connect with the food you eat; it’s Bristol Food Connections

Bristol is certainly a food lover’s paradise. I’ve personally been amazed by the enthusiasm of chefs, growers and community members. Food is certainly part of the essence of Bristol and this is partly true because we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by so much good stuff growing.

My favourites are Stream Farm who rear organic chickens, beef and lamb in a hidden valley high up in the Quantocks in Somerset and The Community Farm where more than 500 local people share ownership and have a say in how it’s run. It’s located near Chew Magna in Somerset, UK. Everyone helps out and grows organic produce, which is delivered as a fruit and veg box scheme.

There’s also activity within the city limits too. Grow Bristol is a new urban farming enterprise. These guys are developing and delivering innovative and sustainable ways of growing food in the city spaces of Bristol. These techies are enhancing nature and all these organisations are contributing to our citywide festival.

In 2014, the first Bristol Food Connections event was our launch pad and gave foodies in our city the chance to try our fledgling product range. It was a resounding success and gave me the impetus to concentrate fully on Coconut Chilli. We launched our range at a big trade show in London, found a production kitchen and now you can buy online alongside local groceries delivered by the Fresh Range team (SW only). But we like to keep things grass-roots too, so we’re super excited that this year, we’re involved in two BFC events.

Bristol’s Whiteladies Road Producers Market is ‘going weekly’ from Sat 2nd May to celebrate European Green Capital 2015. The local community can shop weekly from local producers and customers can learn how their food is made/grown. We’ve been a regular trader for over a year now, so this is great news.

On Sunday, we’re going back to our roots and serving up ‘street food stylee’ at ‘It’s a Bristol Ting’. We were invited to join team Lakota for their community event to encourage people from all walks of life to try street food & there’s a jerk chicken competition. We’ll be serving our dishes hot and ready-to-eat, so come hungry and ready to dance.

But Bristol Food Connections is not all work. I’m going to be having fun too. On my personal to-do list is is ‘Rociantes Rides Again‘ – legendary chefs Chris Wicks, Stuart Seth and founder Barney Haughton are recreating their ‘90’s tapas hot spot at Bell’s Diner and Bar Rooms. I’ll also swing by the Eat Drink Bristol Fashion tipis in Queen Square and I’m hoping to meet blogger Jenny Chandler who’s on a mission to bring beans and pulses back in fashion.

Then there’s ‘An Organoleptic Odyssey’ a private tasting event hosted by sponsors Gregg Latchams (organised especially for their clients). Organoleptics is the science of how our senses work. I’ll be taken on an epicurean journey, which will bring to life how our taste buds tells the brain how lovely food pairings can be. It’s why we remember food moments so vividly.

By the end of the nine days, Bristol Food Connections and all its events will be etched into your memory as THE place to eat and drink. It’s also aiming to put Bristol at the forefront of sustainability. The team behind the Eat Drink Bristol Fashion tipis want Bristol to become the UK capital of sustainable catering by 2020.

Their Sustainable Food Summit will educate chefs, caterers and local food producers about flavoursome slow meat – the anti-thesis to intensively farmed, cheap meat, innovative growing and hydrating for vegetables and crops, plus ways to reduce waste.

These are all things we can all get involved with by making a few simple changes to our eating and shopping habits. It’s vital to connect with the food we eat, it’s probably the most important thing we can do.

29th April 2015

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