This month’s Seeding Our Future webinar has started an important exploration of how our local food system can adapt to the coming challenges of climate change, just as the recent pressures of Covid-19 are revealing how adeptly the Bridport area’s independent food and drink producers and suppliers can innovate during exceptional times.
Short supply chains are crucial to the food security issues described by Elise Wach’s Growing Through Climate Change report and have always been essential to these enterprises – never more so than during lockdown as bespoke box schemes and delivery systems were established by food shops like Washingpool and Fruits of the Earth, while cafes and pubs like The Red Brick and The Ilchester Arms offered takeaways and deliveries. This extraordinary period has deepened our gratitude for people working with food – they have become valued as key workers as well as farmers or cooks or shopkeepers. Tapping into this appreciation and the expansion of buying direct could give scope for enlisting support for a future specialist box scheme of climate adaptive produce.
The Bridport Food Festival 2020 was planning a special focus on food and climate – a dedicated space to ‘Taste The Future’ – to act as a platform for introducing the local community to new ideas and produce alongside the annual displays by over 60 of the Bridport area’s brilliant food and drink producers. We’ll be looking now to Bridport Food Festival 2021 as an opportunity for growing the interest and new markets needed to support the Seeding Our Future project. There will be talks, displays and hands-on food for thought through opportunities to cook and eat the produce being discussed.
Bridport Food Festival is particularly passionate about getting younger people interested in food – entry is free for under 17s and there are free cooking sessions with chefs for them all day too. These will be alongside the climate area so that children and teens can engage with the debate as well and contribute their ideas and cooking, which will be done with entirely local ingredients. We have assembled the ‘Bridport Community Cooking Kit’ for use in these sessions and all year round by school or community groups that want to engage people of any age with cooking, produce food or fundraise.
Bridport Local Food Group is looking forward to reinstating the festival that’s at the heart of its support for local food and drink enterprises, but its immediate focus is their survival. Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis BLFG Chair Kathy Dare has been compiling and promoting a definitive guide to continued sourcing from Bridport’s food and drink suppliers despite social distancing or isolating. Please find and share at www.tiny.cc/bridport to help ensure they will all be there at next year’s food festival alongside ‘Taste the Future’. To access the Bridport Community Cooking Kit email firstname.lastname@example.org.