How Bristol is Leading the Way in Sustainable Food

By Ellie Smith

3 years ago

A look into why Bristol has been awarded Gold Sustainable Food City status

Bristol has long been associated with the green movement. In 2005 it became a Fairtrade City, and is now one of only five cities in the world that has held that accolade for more than a decade. It was also named as the UK’s first cycling city in 2008, and is home to the Soil Association, a charity that works to transform the way we eat and care for our natural world.

This year, Bristol has upped its credentials even further, having become the second city in the UK to achieve Gold Sustainable Food City status. The award followed the city’s Going for Gold campaign, which saw communities and organisations coming together in a bid to create a better food system – both for people and for the planet.

Initiatives involved in the application were focused around reducing food waste, addressing food inequality and growing the city’s good food movement. The #BiteBackBetter campaign, for instance, encourages people to use and share resources to help us understand how to cook and grow better. The Children’s Kitchen, meanwhile, is a programme established by Feeding Bristol which aims to teach children about growing fresh produce. The city isn’t resting on its laurels, though, and has already begun work on the Bristol Good Food 2030 action plan. Ultimately, the aim is to build a city that puts sustainably sourced food front and centre.

Lots of the city’s restaurants are contributing to the cause, too – below we highlight some of their stories.

Sustainable Restaurants in Bristol

Poco Tapas Bar

Poco Tapas Bar

A tapas restaurant launched with the planet in mind, Bristol’s Poco Tapas Bar was named the most sustainable restaurant of the year in 2016 thanks to its commitment to the zero-waste movement. Food is seasonal and changes often, but signature dishes include deep fried oysters and pork belly with fennel.

Hart’s Bakery

This café in Temple Meads uses an ethical coffee supplier, Extract Contract Roasters, which sources its beans direct from farmers around the world. Another crafty initiative saves up to 7,000 plastic bottles a year by supplying milk in reusable stainless steel churns which are connected to a dispenser.

Café Kino

A vegan café and community space in Stokes Croft, Café Kino is famous for its plant-based burgers, but it also serves up fresh salads, breakfasts and cakes. Part of the space now operates as a vegan deli, selling everything from Bath Culture House cheeses to meat alternatives. Café Kino is a non-profit organisation, and the business is run collectively, meaning any money made goes back into improving the company for both customers and staff.

Canteen Bristol

Canteen Bristol

Sustainability has been central to Stokes Croft food and live music venue The Canteen since it launched back in 2009 – but recently it has boosted its efforts. Everything is seasonally sourced, organic where possible and locally produced, with a new flexible format meaning dishes change based on supply.


Wilsons’ co-founders Jan Ostle and Mary Wilson were the perfect match for launching an eco-minded bistro. Jan spent years working in acclaimed kitchens across the country, while Mary has a background in biodynamic agriculture. Much of the produce at Wilsons is grown in the restaurant’s own market garden on the outskirts of Bristol, with the menu changing frequently depending on what’s available.

Main image: Getty Images


A Foodie’s Guide To Bristol / Sustainable Restaurants in London