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Kristin Sponsler

Kristin Sponsler

Director of Bristol Food Network CIC and Sims Hill Shared Harvest Community-supported agriculture project, and grassroots project representative on the Bristol Food Policy Council


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7 May 2014

Day 6: Complete lunch failure

This is not food that I have eaten. This is food that I could have eaten if I had not been trying to pay in Bristol Pounds. Tuesday was the low point of my Bristol Pound challenge in terms of trying to find a place around Whiteladies Road where I could buy lunch in Bristol Pounds. The first cafe we wanted to go to doesn't take them. That was OK, we weren't sure that they did, and we knew of another place a bit further that did take them, and served great food. So we were off...Unfortunately their kitchen was being redone, so no hot food to be had there. OK, to the burger joint that we believed took them from our hazy memory of looking at the directory. No luck there either as people looked at each other in confusion as to what we were talking about. OK, one more place that we know took them before that has good fresh food. Ooops! They had just changed hands and were renegotiating their txt2pay account! By now with stomachs rumbling we went back to the first cafe in defeat. Conclusion? We need more cafes in Clifton and Redland to take the Bristol Pound! Why not go out armed with the Directory you ask? Because even if we had we would have been disappointed by change of owners and closed kitchens! But we are still eating good meals at home powered by Better Food, Wild Oats, Sims Hill Shared Harvest and Stream Farm. Yes, this was my first real failure in terms of my challenge. Let's see what happens tomorrow...

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4 May 2014

Day 3

Ok, it's getting down to the nitty-gritty now, and the word "challenge" is beginning to come into its own. What is really becoming clear to me with doing something like this is that advance planning is a MUST! (can I regretfully say that there was very little of that on my part?) Between forgetting to top up my Bristol Pound account before the Festival started and making assumptions about how many Food Connections stallholders that offer hot food actually take the things (answer, hardly any!) lunch was a bit of a creative scramble yesterday. Fortunately No. 1 Harbourside came to the rescue. After a short tour of all of the delights on offer at the Producer's and Street Food Markets on Saturday (and there were many, get down and check it out tomorrow if you haven't already), it was wonderful to sit down to a tasty sandwich at No. 1 Harbourside, who accepted my Bristol Pounds with an open and hearty smile. I then raced off to Hamilton House to participate in the University of Bristol's Soil, Seeds, and Social Change workshop: Local Food, Pollyanna or Panacea, also part of the amazing Food Connections Festival. Imagine my surprise when I suddenly remembered that lunch was on offer there courtesy of the Bristol Hospitality Network (check out their wonderful work with asylum seekers), featuring fresh seasonal veg supplied by Bristol's own urban Community-supported Agriculture project, Sims Hill Shared Harvest! (full disclosure, yes I am on the Board.) While feeling slightly guilty about partaking of this amazingly delicious meal of Indian-inspired cuisine after having just eaten, I felt I could not turn down a couple of modest portions, and it was certainly worth it. The presentations and discussion that followed were very interesting and thought-provoking as well. Thanks to Mark Jackson's team at the University of Bristol for organising. After all that, it was home to help cook up a tasty Stream Farm trout, served with mash and salad straight from our Sims Hill Shared Harvest veg share (pictured above). (I think that I might have mentioned previously that both of these worthy organisations take Bristol Pounds?) It was another delicious meal with ingredients sourced from the fertile Bristol city region foodshed. Thanks to the Bristol Pound Farmlink scheme, out-of-town producers such as Stream Farm can take payment for their products in Bristol Pounds and help enrich our local food economy. I am now hoping that more of the local butchers that Bristol is lucky to possess in such abundance, will soon be taking Bristol Pounds as well!

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3 May 2014

Day 1 of my Bristol Pound challenge!

OK here goes. I rather arbitrarily decided to begin my challenge at lunchtime on 1st May, the day that the Bristol Food Connections Festival launched. Due to a somewhat hectic week I wasn't able to sit down to a feast of locally sourced food at one of our lovely independent cafes or take home some lovely organic veg from our local independent Good Food shop, Better Food on Whiteladies Road, to make a great stir fry or salad. Instead I opted for some of the tasty treats that Better Food offers in its well-stocked deli. Problem solved! Today it was one of my favorites, their pea and potato samosa, along with half of one of their very tasty bhajis. Since we went to the launch of the Bristol Food Connections Festival at the Eat Drink Bristol Fashion tipis in the evening, dinner consisted of a few of their delicious canapes. If I had had a few more paper Bristol Pounds, more food could have been consumed! I am stocking up on some paper pounds from the Gallimaufrey on Gloucester Road to widen my food options for the weekend. I also need to announce that my challenge does not include dumping everything out of our fridge and store cupboard! We already buy most of our food at local independent shops Better Food and Wild Oats, get most of our local seasonal veg from the Sims Hill Shared Harvest Community-Supported Agriculture scheme and we get our local organic meat mainly from Stream Farm (all of whom take the Bristol Pound!). So none of that food will be wasted and will be incorporated into some of the meals this week. But the Bristol Pound will be used to buy all food that will be eaten out and that has yet to be purchased for meals during this time. At least that is the plan!
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17 April 2014

My Bristol Good Food Diaries challenge!

I am planning on buying all of my food in Bristol Pounds during the entire period of the Bristol Food Connections Festival (from 1st to 11th May). This will include all of the food we prepare at home during that time as well as buying whatever lovely food is on offer while I am out and about during the Festival (and that is going to be a lot!) We will see how I fare...

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