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Retailer receives MBE for services to sustainable food initiatives

by Rachel Symonds
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The founder of Bristol’s Better Food has been honoured with an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to sustainable food initiatives.

Phil Haughton, the founder of the award-winning Bristol-based organic retailer, received the recognition of his life’s work to create a better and fairer food system. From becoming a Soil Association member at age 14, to establishing four stores championing the best organic, local and ethical food and products, Phil has been a key player in communities, farming and business in the South West.

Fighting for food justice, supporting the hard-working hands of organic farmers and producers, and advocating for the balance of food and nature have all been part of Phil’s mission and his passion for over 40 years.

In 2021, Phil released his first book, Food for Thought, filled with fascinating stories, tempting recipes and helpful tips, sharing his journey to where he is today. Phil started working the land in 1974, farming organically in a community in Scotland before moving to Bristol in 1981 and working at Windmill Hill City Farm. For several years, he worked with children and adults, teaching them about food and farming. Phil has since devoted his life – embedded in farming, retailing and spreading the organic word – to building a community engaged in creating a better, fairer and more sustainable world for all. Phil has served on the Soil Association Council, was a founding member of The Community Farm in Chew Magna, and has helped support several other Bristol-based food and farming projects.

Better Food was born in 1992 as Phil’s Better Food Campaign, an organic delivery box scheme. In 2002, he set up Better Food in its current home and first store in St Werburghs. Whiteladies Road, Wapping Wharf and Gloucester Road stores all followed. Phil brings his commitment to community building and social justice to Better Food, through the company’s support for Square Food, Heart of BS13, The Community Farm, and many other causes over the generations.

Phil commented: “When I think about what has always got me out of bed, it’s really simple. Justice. I hold a huge passion to see justice done, for our soil, our farmers, our children and all communities. I’m delighted to receive this MBE. I have so much gratitude for our farmers, the Better Food team and our customers for supporting me on this journey of championing sustainable food in Bristol and beyond. I’ve been inspired by many people along the way and it’s an honour to be recognised for the work that I’m so passionate about.”

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