Bristol Pound Launches New 'Real Economy' Project to Address Bristol's Food Deserts

BPsloganBristol Pound will be launching its latest initiative ‘Real Economy‘ on Saturday 3rd May 214, during Bristol Food Connections. The initiative supports people to form food ‘buying group’ that will purchase food directly from producers, reducing dependence on supermarkets. Real Economy aims to make fresh, healthy, local food available in all areas of the city, especially in ‘food deserts’ where there is little food choice and high unemployment. Real Economy will launch with pop-up food and craft markets in Knowle WestHengroveEaston and Barton Hill.

Bristol Pound

Katie Finnegan-Clarke, Bristol Pound Communications Manager, said: “Bristol Pound has a strong connection with Bristol’s buoyant independent food sector. Many of Bristol’s best eateries and most ground breaking food projects are already part of the Bristol Pound – including award-winning cafes and restaurants and local producers. However, in some parts of Bristol it is extremely difficult to shop for good food. There is serious lack of food choice. These areas are sometimes referred to as ‘food deserts’. Real Economy seeks to address Bristol’s food inequality.”


Chris Sunderland, Director of Real Economy, said: “We expect Real Economy buying groups to emerge all over the city, but recognise a real challenge to provide fresh, local food at a reasonable price in some areas.  Our way will be to combine the development of buying groups with pop up markets and the encouragement of home enterprise, people making food and products for each other, learning new skills and even scaling up to become city-wide businesses.”

Ciaran Mundy CEO of Bristol Pound said: “Our interest in the food sector is central to what we want to achieve – a fairer, happier and greener economy. I am thrilled to announce the launch of Real Economy, a real alternative to supermarkets in areas of the city where independent food businesses are rare to non-existent.  We want the use of Bristol Pounds in these areas of the city to bring tangible benefits – good quality fresh food that people can afford without being subject to a supermarket culture that aggressively pushes unhealthy food.”

Real Economy is based on the experience of communities in Italy where people have formed buying groups, decided what sort of food they would like to source and made a direct relationship with local producers. These GAS groups (Gruppo di Aquisto Solidale – literally ‘solidarity buying groups’) have sprung up all over Italy and have proved how local demand can shift the food system towards local and value-led production.

Members of the public who are interested in forming buying groups, whatever part of the city they are from, should contact Real Economy team at


Real Economy launch markets will take place at:

– Hengrove Park Leisure Centre, Hengrove Promenade on Saturday 3rd May, 10am – 2pm.

– Junction 3 Roundabout/Underpass, Baptist Mills, Easton on Tuesday 6th May, 4.30pm – 8pm.

– The Walled Garden, Barton Hill on Wednesday 7th May, 3pm – 6pm.

– Health Park, Whisk Cafe, Downton Road, Knowle West  on Thursday 8th May, 10am – 2pm

Bristol Pound website: // Real Economy website: Members of the public interested in forming buying groups should phone the Real Economy Coordinator Bea Oliver on 07443653172 or email: [email protected].


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