Sunday 29 May 2016

Phil Haughton

Phil Haughton

Today we will be talking with one of the founders of the Community Farm and the Managing Director of The Better Food Company, Phil Haughton.

Here is what the Community Farm’s website says about Phil:
“Phil has lifelong involvement in organic food and farming.  Experience has come from 5 years farming in Scotland, 5 years working on a city farm with education at its heart and 25 years retailing, wholesaling, growing and delivering organic food with a commitment to sustainability and community throughout.”

GM: You have extensive experience with organic food and farming. What specifically motivated you to open The Better Food Company and what made you decide to offer only organic food?

PH: I have always had a very strong sense of food justice. When I looked at how the food world was developing I knew it I wanted to offer a better alternative and organic helps not only connect producer and consumer but its healthy for people and planet.

The Better Food at Whiteladies Rd

GM: The Better Food Company was established in 1992 as an organic delivery service, operating from a warehouse in St Werburghs. What was the health food scene like in the early nineties? Were people interested in buying organic food at that time?

PH: People have been interested in buying organic food for decades in response to health and environmental issues. The health food scene was strong, but a about me and my health and less about the world view. As the 90’s progressed it became more about the wider isssues of food, farming and soil health.

The Better Food, Whiteladies Rd,, fruit and vegetables

GM: The Better Food Company’s mission statement states that it is ‘organic, local and ethical’ can you give examples of how you practice these ideals throughout your business?

PH: We strive to be at least 75% organic. We work with as many local suppliers as possible, and we aim to have strong ethical relationships with our suppliers, staff and customers.

GM: In October 2010, The Better Food Company opened a second deli in Clifton, Bristol. The layout of the café has been recently changed and there is more space for people to sit and enjoy their meal. What do you think makes this café so popular?

PH: Fantastic staff making good food and really caring about what we offer our customers. Our café space is small, but very different. Eclectic, and relaxed is a appealing to our customers.

Café deli in Clifton  (2011)

GM: Phil you seem to be a very active man, St Werburgh’s store is a well-established food hub, the Community Farm has had a lot of success and the Clifton deli is now a bustling organic food market, as well as the Soil Association events you are involved with. Looking forward do you have any projects or events you are excited about?

PH: I am excited about our third store opening in July. This is great for the people of south Bristol who have little by way of choice for fresh organic food. After that I would like us to be more involved in growing some of what we use in our kitchens. I have always been a farmer at heart and I would like to spend less time on the business and more time in the field, or at least helping us to grow more food.

Café deli in Clifton, (2016)

GM: What about you Phil, what is your every-day diet like? Do you enjoy cooking at home? Do you have a favourite dish? 

PH: I love to cook, I love to share food. I do lots of gardening and now I spend more time travelling and my latest hobby which is pottery. I don’t have a favourite dish, but I love to do delicious things from all the bits that need using up in our fridge at home.

GM: What do you enjoy the most running your own food business?

PH: People are at the heart of it all. Wonderful people, and the privilege of connecting farmers and growers who work so hard and with such care, with our customers and love food and care deeply about where it comes from.

Thank you kindly for your time!

Interviewed by Greg Macalla
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