The rationale behind Street Diner

Photo:Street Diner banner

Street Diner banner

Photo by Henry Bruce

Photo:One of the food stalls

One of the food stalls

Photo:One of the cake stalls

One of the cake stalls

Photo:It can get very busy

It can get very busy

In Brighthelm Garden every Friday

By Christina Angus and Kate O'Sullivan, Managers of Street Diner

At its inception we wanted Street Diner, located in Brighthelm Garden every Friday, to enshrine the principles of sustainability, to promote local food sourcing, to strengthen local food production links and to make the local trading economy more open for small local businesses.

Most are Brighton residents

Most of our traders are drawn from within 20 miles of Brighton - indeed most are Brighton residents. From our work outside the city, we knew that many traders were having to commute to London or concentrate on festivals and events as there was no dedicated street food platform in Brighton. It was clear to us that this was both damaging to the environment and to the local economy. We dedicated ourselves to finding a venue whilst keeping an eye out for the most consciously sustainable traders we could find.

Huge number of candidates interviewed

Locality, food provenance, animal welfare, food packaging and waste are central to our trader selection process. We interviewed a huge number of candidates and found that happily many had some commitment to these values. These types of small local businesses often have the capacity to leverage sustainable principles because their economy of scale is manageable. Larger institutions, with many members of staff and a high volume of customers, are more concentrated on the bottom line for obvious reasons.

Local food producers used

Food discovery is also an important aspect to our work. Many of our traders promote and use local food producers such as farmers, bakers and butchers. The use of seasonal produce makes both economic and practical sense. The public are keen to engage too and appreciate the changing menus that seasonal produce inspires.

Committed to sustainable principles

We have only been running for a short time but we do informally evaluate our commitment to sustainable principles almost daily. We are encouraging people to share cars and vans, we are looking at on-site composting possibilities and encourage all the traders to review their take away food packaging. Most are now opting to use the minimum and should they use boxes these tend to be compostable. Polystyrene is banned.

Locally resilient future

Going forward we want to participate in Brighton’s move towards a more sustainable and locally resilient future.

https://twitter.com/StreetDiner

https://www.facebook.com/streetdinerbrighton



[Previously published in the
North Laine Runner, No 223, July/August 2013]

 

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