Two days in a row this week I was asked for recommendations for food things happening in Birmingham. The first was by a journalist writing for Olive magazine, which in an upcoming feature is pitting UK cities against each other for which can lay claim to being the “foodiest” (Oh God I hate that term, especially when I use it myself). He said he’d looked at the fine dining scene and the Balti already and was looking for stuff under the radar. Here’s was my response:
Wholesale Markets (largest in the UK) and Bull Ring Fruit and Veg, Meat and Fish markets.
Social Enterprise/grassroots food businesses – Loaf social enterprise cookery school and bakery, Frost and Snow cupcake bakery providing jobs for the homeless, Change Kitchen vegetarian catering, South Birmingham Food Co-operative, Urban Harvest social enterprise fruit harvesting and processing.
Community and Farmers Markets – Moseley, New Street, University, Kings Heath, Kings Norton, Harborne, Bearwood, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Jewellery Quarter (24 carrots), Stirchley Community Market.
Other things worth googling (restaurants bars and cafes): Soul Food Project, Warehouse Cafe, Opus, Anderson Bar and Grill, Jyoti’s vegetarian south indian restaurant (a fave haunt of Jamie Oliver et al), Carters of Moseley, Bitters’n'Twisted pub group, The Wellington (real ale pub), Urban Coffee Company…(shops): Capeling and Co cheesemongers, Stirchley wines and spirits (real ale!), Rossiters Organic Butchers, Leverton and Halls Deli and Coffee Shop, Anderson and Hill Deli, Nima Deli, Al Barakah Lebanese Bakery, Kitchen Garden Cafe.
The second enquiry was the Soil Association asking for what was going on in terms of sustainability and food in Birmingham as they’d received an application from someone at the council for support in developing this, and again they are pitting us against other cities to win the support. Here’s what I recommended (after a lengthy conversation about the lack of vision in this area coming from the council and from health bodies in the city):
Community Gardens/gardening projects: Northfield Eco Centre: http://www.northfieldecocentre.org/; Martineau Gardens: http://www.martineau-gardens.org.uk/; Sense City Edible City: http://www.sensecity.org.uk/?page_id=102; Cotteridge Park Community Orchard: http://www.cotteridgepark.org.uk/index.php?page=orchard; Loads of active allotment sites in Birmingham including the biggest in the UK (Uplands Allotments – great for growing afro-carribean and asian vegetables) and the active Court Lane Allotments: http://courtlaneallotments.com/ who recently had a garden at Gardners World Live.
Social Enterprise/ Co-operative food initiatives: Loaf, South Birmingham Food Co-op (http://bhmfoodcoop.wordpress.com/), Change Kitchen (http://changekitchen.co.uk/), Urban Harvest (http://www.urbanharvestbham.org/), Abundance Birmingham (http://abundancebirmingham.wordpress.com/); Globally Local have a catering enterprise: http://www.globallylocal.net/
Farmers/Community markets: Moseley, New Street, University, Kings Heath, Kings Norton, Harborne, Bearwood, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Jewellery Quarter (24 carrots), Stirchley Community Market.
Support groups: Sustainability West Midlands (http://www.sustainabilitywestmidlands.org.uk/); Localise West Midlands (http://localisewestmidlands.org.uk/); Birmingham FoE (http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/); Sense City – worked together with localise WM on a local food module at Aston Uni.
NHS: http://www.dietetics.bham.nhs.uk/FoodNet4LIFE/Default.aspx – FoodNet are the main team doing 5-a-day healthy eating stuff in Birmingham.
Is that a fair summary of food things going on in Birmingham would you say or I have missed some glaringly obvious things that deserve to be shouted about? I expect it’s fairly South Birmingham-centric, as that’s where I spend most of my time. Feel free to leave a comment below…