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Business Breakfast: Sustainable Food & Drink

  • Alec French Architects 27 Trenchard Street Bristol, England, BS1 5AN United Kingdom (map)

The Future Economy Network is excited to be welcoming representatives from The Soil Association, Bristol Fair Trade Network, Grow Bristol CIC & City to Sea, who will be discussing how they are striving for a sustainable food & drink sector!

Elaine Ashley, Chair, Bristol Fair Trade Network will be highlighting the inequities in global trading systems and what we can do to challenge this, understanding the ecological impact of food travelling from elsewhere in the world and making the connections between the support for local, small scale, farmers/producers  and small scale farming elsewhere in the world. Fair Trade & Local and Fair Trade and Going for Gold!

Tessa Hart, Business Development Manager, The Soil Association will highlight the benefits of organic farming as a sustainable food system and how it plays a vital role in combating climate change. Organic is food as it should be – what that guarantees when buying organic. She will also mention some of the schemes the SA are currently running.

Rebecca Burgess, CEO, City to Sea. Refill is an award-winning campaign run by Bristol-based organisation City to Sea, to prevent plastic pollution at source by making it easier to reuse and refill your bottle instead of buying a new one. The campaign works by connecting people who are looking for water with thousands of local business, transport hubs and public spaces where they can Refill for free. Anyone can download the free app to find Refill Stations near them where they can refill for free on the go. There are now more than 14,000 Refill Stations on the app in the UK alone – including railway stations, airports and high street chains. The objective of Refill is to stop millions of plastic bottles at source each year and prevent plastic pollution by making reusing a bottle simpler than buying a new one. Hear more about the campaign, who we are working with and ambitious plans for expansion in 2019.

Dermot O'Regan & Oscar Davidson, Grow Bristol CIC, one of the UK pioneers in VFUA and has big plans for creating a new model of sustainable urban food production and distribution for the circular economy and smart city. They will be discussing how our food system is 'broken' and having an increasingly detrimental effect on society, the environment and economies. How vertical farming and urban agriculture (VFUA) is part of the solution and the sector is growing rapidly.


07:45 - 08:00 - Registration and coffee

08:00 - 08:10 - Introduction from The Future Economy Network

08:10 - 08:25 – Rebecca, Refill Bristol

08:25 – 08:40 – Dermot, Grow Bristol

08:40 - 08:55 – Elaine, Bristol Fair Trade Network 

08:55 - 09:10 - Tessa, Soil Association

09:10 - 09:15 - 60 Second Pitches

09:15 - 09:20 - Close

09:20 - 10:00 – Networking and breakfast

09:20 - 10:00 – Networking and breakfast

Get to know our speakers!

Rebecca Burgess, CEO, City to Sea

Rebecca is CEO of City to Sea, an award-winning not-for-profit organisation campaigning to stop plastic pollution - from city to sea. Rebecca joined in April 2018 as Head of Partnerships, to manage the growing network of businesses. After a few busy months she was appointed to the board as Commercial Director and naturally stepped into the role as Chief Executive as of December.

Prior to City to Sea, Rebecca worked at consultancy Eunomia. It was through working with the European Commission on their Plastic Strategy, that Rebecca felt inspired to do more in the fight against single-use plastic.  Rebecca took the plunge to work freelance in 2016 when she first moved to Bristol, after 10 years shaping sector leading community programmes with a variety of companies and not-for-profits. She is an accomplished and commercially savvy individual, who is truly passionate about helping businesses balance profit and purpose.

Tessa Hart, Business Development Manager, Soil Association

Tessa has been with the Soil Association since November 2018 in the new roles of Business Development Manager for Food and Drink , prior to that she worked for 6 years within the homelessness sector both in Bristol and London, helping to set up and monitor new initiatives. She started her career as a Food Buyer for the London retailer As Nature Intended. She have also recently qualified as a Nutritional Therapist.

Elaine Ashley, Chair, Bristol Fair Trade Network CIC

Elaine has been involved with Bristol Fair Trade network since 2005. Winner of first South West Fair Trade Advocate Award

Dermot O'Regan, Founder & Managing Director, Grow Bristol CIC.

Dermot has an academic background in environmental science and over ten years’ professional experience in environmental policy and management. He was recognised as ‘Environmental Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the Bristol & Bath Environmental Awards 2016 and has overseen Grow Bristol being crowned ‘Best Local Grower’ at the Bristol Good Food Awards.

Oscar Davidson, Operations Director, Grow Bristol CIC.

Oscar previously worked as an environment and sustainability consultant within the build environment. Oscar has 5 years’ experience in the vertical farming sector, including 2 years managing the UK’s first commercial scale vertical aquaponic urban farm.

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Earlier Event: 15 February
Improving Air Quality in the City
Later Event: 27 February