We want BS13 residents to have the same access healthy and affordable food that is available in other parts of the city. This is why for 6 weeks over the summer, we ran a crowdfunder to raise funds for our Real Meals on Wheels initiative.
Hartcliffe and Withywood in BS13 is recognised as a ‘food desert’, a place in which it is difficult for people on low incomes or without access to transport to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food because large numbers of households live more than one mile from a supermarket and there are only a handful of expensive convenience stores that sell high sugar, salt and saturated fat products but very few fresh foods.
On the back of our Covid-19 emergency food response work, have developed a ‘street by street’ vision for tackling food poverty in BS13. Our idea is to develop a ‘Real Meals on Wheels’ food shop, selling a combination of ready-made, high quality meals from our Real Meal Store kitchen, plus fresh fruit, veg and other staples like bread, milk, dairy, eggs and meat.
Food poverty in BS13 long predates the pandemic, and our new Real Meals on Wheels E-cargo bike – which will have a refrigerated store attached – will contribute to tackling the problem. It will enable us to stock and sell good quality healthy food and locally grown produce to local people whatever their income. We will have riders delivering on regular rounds to streets in Hartcliffe and Withywood (BS13) – similar to the butcher or fruit and veg vans that used to make weekly visits to neighbourhoods.
We are thrilled to have raised over £10,000 for this programme of work, and we’re now keen to get on the road!
The next steps for this project, include the building of our custom made E-cargo bike which will be taking place over the next 2 months. We’re working with a fantastic local business – Cyclesmaximus.com – to create a bike that will meet all of our needs – including the refrigerated attachment and enough storage for all the food we will be selling.
We will also be working with local food producers over the coming months to secure good quality, and locally made producce. Our Kitchen Garden will be supplying a large proportion of the fresh veg, but we will also be sourcing bread, milk, other dairy, eggs and meat to sell at a competitive price point – in other words – one that local people can afford to pay!
Creating local employment
As part of this work, we are excited to be creating job opportunities for 2 local people to become our regular Real Meals on Wheels riders/retail assistants.
In addition to this BS13-based mobile shop, we will also be fully utilising the Real Meals on Wheels E-cargo bike whilst it’s idle at the weekend by hot wheeling into the city to sell our Pay it Forward range of Real Meals to the rest of Bristol! This will not only help keep the wheels turning on the E-cargo bike, it will support the overall the work that we do to tackle health inequality and food insecurity in BS13.
We plan to be on the streets of BS13 from Feb 2022 – so hope to see you there!