Our StrEAT season has finished this year but most of our street food vendors are still busy, out on the Xmas market circuit. Coconut Chilli, my own stall, will be trading at Digbeth Dining Club this Friday night and the Bath Artisan market on Sunday.
Now is a good time to reflect on a fantastic season of street food. Way back in June, our StrEAT night markets were born. We cleverly chose Green Park station in Bath as our first location. It’s a local institution and well known host of the first ever farmers market in 1997. And in 2012, host to the first ever street food night market.
And our SW customers love this new addition to the thriving independent trader scene. There are many well established markets, with Ashton Court, Love Food and the Harbourside market in Bristol, all hubs for local traders and small scale producers. But these are daytime events and StrEAT has a totally different energy. We’re all about hanging out together in the evenings – and trying new and delicious foods.
But mostly it’s about community. Street food can be the glue to stick people together. Post hurricane Sandy, many of the food trucks in down town NYC dedicated their time to helping unfortunate victims. Big businesses got involved. JP Morgan Chase (one amongst many) donated cash to pay for ingredients so the trucks could cook and serve hot food for ‘powerless’ New Jersey residents. If it weren't for the trucks, the cold and hunger would have forced many victims to survive solely on the Halloween candy donated by fellow Americans!
Back home in Bristol, we’ve got a new city Mayor and community is high on the agenda too. George Ferguson is a prominent architect and businessman who has been heralded as the driving force behind the regeneration of Bedminster, a previously down-at-heel neighbourhood in South Bristol.
One of his ideas is to close some of our streets on Sundays so Bristolians and visitors alike can mingle in vehicle free areas. The aim is to help to strengthen communities. I hope street food and market stalls will be encouraged in a bid to further develop the local creative and entrepreneurial spirit. Britain needs something to keep spirits alive.
What better way than supporting our independents, re-connecting with high streets and getting to know our neighbours?