Developing Bristol’s ‘People’s Supermarket’

Eat the Change is an exciting new project that will build on the overwhelming energy that the ‘No Tesco in Stokes Croft’ campaign has mobilised around sustainable food. Tesco trying to open in our beloved community has provided the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the unsustainable nature of supermarkets and the alternatives that are abundant with local organic produce, free from nasty plastic packaging. 

The ‘No Tesco in Stokes Croft’ campaign has highlighted across our community the extent of the demand for sustainable food options provided by locally run and owned shops and the community food research we carried out with APE funding has lead to the birthing of a very exciting project: Bristol’s ‘People’s Supermarket’.

We had almost 200 responses to the community food survey we developed and the responses highlighted that people wanted to buy healthy, local food but that price was quite a barrier. We also found that more long term work was needed to establish relationships with harder to reach communities who are most in need of affordable healthy food. 

The community food research highlighted a huge appetite for a ‘people’s supermarket’ style shop that would provide healthy, local food at more affordable prices and that was membership run. We have recruited a team of almost 30 Core Team volunteers, 13 of whom have committed to at least one day a week and 16 are Mentors, bringing a specific expertise to the team to support the other volunteers. We also have a rapidly growing database of over 100 volunteers keen to help make the ‘People’s Supermarket’ happen.

We have created 9 cross-cutting teams:

–     Retail Strategy and producer relations

–     Strategic Development

–     Community Outreach

–     Finance

–     Fundraising

–     Internal systems

–     Marketing and membership

–     Logistics

–     Governance


We ran a very successful market stall at our local Christmas fair. 30 additional people volunteered to help run it and almost 100 people filled in feedback slips and signed up for  regular updates (which asked: Would you consider doing your main shopping at the People’s Supermarket? Would you be likely to do your convenience shopping at the People’s Supermarket? Are you part of a community group that might be interested to be part of the People’s Supermrket? Do you want to volunteer with us? Are you just intereted in receiving update?) along with a thought bubble for people to share their ideas with us.

We produced flyers and FAQ handouts and a basic website to signpost people to, for more information. Our press releases attracted a range of local radio, newpaper and magazine coverage. We also featured heavily in the BBC’s recent programme about Stokes Croft. We raised over £100 through selling soup and cakes.

We have recently been offered the perfect shop space to rent, pending on Eat The Change producing a business plan by the end of February 2012 that demonstrates we can become financially viable. Our financial viability will largely rest on our membership scheme. We are also working with a record producer to make a Stokes Croft album showcasing the best local musical and artistic talent. Stokes Croft is internationally renowned for playing host to various international names, including Massive Attack, Goldie, Babyhead and Portishead. 

We are delighted to receive funding from APE to kick start Eat the Change. Our community is so ripe to become abundant with local, organic produce, we just need that extra capacity to make it happen. As with so many communities, we know what to do we just lack the finances to make it happen. Thanks for making the process so straightforward, reflecting your understanding of how community work unfolds on the ground. Massive thanks!

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