The Mayor was one of an interesting, diverse panel of people discussing whether the state or the individual should take responsibility for feeding people. Matt Cracknell from Feed Bristol handed the Mayor your ‘Dear George’ postcards (see Dear George Page above) to inform and inspire him about people’s views on the Blue Finger.
The overall shared view was that while choice about what we put in our bodies is ultimately up to us, the state DOES play a vital role in setting the context, parameters and ethics for food providers of all kinds to make healthy (for people and planet) food available to everyone. This brings up the question ‘what can Bristol do as a City Council to lead the way on this?’ We will be inviting everyone on the panel to discuss this further with us in the near future.
The panel and members of the audience gave many examples of where that’s not working at the moment and offered ideas for solutions. There was overall a consensus that both nutritional quality of food, wasted food and local food production need to be urgently addressed.
Nic Damery, Matt Cracknell and Joy Carey, all involved in the Blue Finger Alliance and actively campaigning to see the top quality soil safeguarded for food production, spoke out about the need to recognise the value of soil as the foundation of a healthy food economy.
And here, George Ferguson stated: “As for the Blue Finger, yes, that soil is too good to have cars parked on it.”
This is a significant moment for both the Blue Finger Alliance and for the Rethink M32 Park & Ride campaign which has strived for years to see the idea of a Park & Ride beside the M32 reviewed and, ideally, scrapped and replaced with a truly sustainable public transport system, not more costly car infrastructure.
I still felt the issue of what is special about Grade 1 land wasn’t fully articulated by us or grasped by the panel and we will work towards creating a clear message around this. George is very strongly in favour of growing wherever possible but stopped short of recognising why we have to protect THIS land – because it serves us best when it comes to food growing in unpredictable conditions. We’re looking for the BEST tools for the job, and the BEST soil is our number 1 tool without which the local food economy will not thrive as it could.
What do you think??? Let us know your thoughts about the debate if you were there and give us your ideas for moving the campaign forward. We’re always wanting new people, ideas and energy for the project.