A south Bristol charity that works to improve the health of people living in the area, has launched two new new businesses during the pandemic.
Heart of BS13, which was founded in 1900 by residents wanting to address specific health problems through increased connection with the local environment, offers mental health support, targeted nutrition, cooking activities and social enterprise.
Based in the Bristol postcode that sits at the bottom of the national multiple deprivation index, the charity had been supporting local people deal with poverty and the lack of opportunity in the area, and the ‘knock-on’ effects , of debt, food insecurity, lack of options and the general trauma of deprivation.
The first of the two businesses launched by the organisation, as well as sending out more than 30,000 meals to families during the pandemic, is a Kitchen Garden Enterprise.
“We’d spent 2019 improving a parcel of land with a view to selling veg and flowers in 2020 at weekend farmers markets across the city,” says Jodie, food security programme lead at Heart of BS13.
“The lockdown and our subsequent inability to run the focused support work we normally do in the gardens, plus the amazing weather gave us a laser focus to bring the Kitchen Garden Enterprise to life!
“Every week last year from March until October we produced buckets of beautiful cut flowers and crates of delicious seasonal veg which we have sold on a subscription/delivery basis across the city.”
Heart of BS13 has now joined forces with Windmill Hill City Farm to create a new venture. It will transform build Hartcliffe City Farm into a community hub and double the sales of the enterprise in 2022.
The charity has also launched a second business, The Real Meal Store. Started at the end of 2020, after eight months of delivering their Covid-19 response, the store provides training and employment, and also tackles the affordability of a good meal.
Real Meals as part of are cooked by those at Heart of BS13, and when someone buys one, they are paying a meal forward for someone in the area who wouldn’t be able to afford one otherwise. New trainees will also be taught how to cook the meals and gain an apprenticeship.
Products from both the Kitchen Garden Enterprise and Real Meal Store will also be stocked in Better Food.
“These two enterprises are showing how good produce and good food can be part of a bigger vision to offer opportunities in local communities, improve emotional and physical wellbeing, and look after the local environment,” says Phil Haughton, Better Food founder.
“I’m so proud to see these products on our shelves, and I’m excited that we can offer our customers high quality products that add value where it’s needed most in Bristol.”
Main photo: Heart of BS13
Read more: Helping feed the heart of BS13