Food Sense Wales and our response to the COVID-19 crisis:

last updated 24 March 2021


Food Sense Wales are dedicating our homepage as a hub for the latest information on our response to the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure that every household in Wales receives good food.


Please see and share our latest updates below:


Updated 24 March 2021

SwperBox becomes the latest Peas Please pledger in the UK.

SwperBox CIC – Wales’ first recipe subscription service – is the latest company to sign up to become a Peas Please pledger in the UK.

Peas Please is a UK-wide initiative that has a very clear mission: to make it easier for everyone in the UK to eat more veg.  Food Sense Wales leads on the Peas Please work in Wales and engages with people across the food system to help implement a shift in diet and to address our stagnating vegetable consumption. 

Read more here


Updated 11 March 2021

Accessing Fruit and Veg during Lockdown

Addressing inequality and redressing the balance of cost between healthy and unhealthy foods are two of the main findings of a new report called Covid Veg commissioned by Peas Please, a UK National Lottery funded programme whose main aim us to drive up veg consumption.

Between June and August 2020, during the midst of the COVID-19 restrictions, Peas Please gathered stories from nearly a hundred people from across the UK, with 42% of the respondents being from Wales.  Read more here.


Updated 5 March 2021

Healthy Start – what’s on the shopping list in Wales?

In December 2020, the Welsh Government announced that it would be increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers in Wales from £3.10 a week to £4.25 to provide support with nutritional intake amongst children and families on low incomes.  This increase will come into effect in April and will coincide with the digitisation of the scheme across the UK.

But what exactly is Healthy Start?  And how does it benefit families in Wales?  

Here, Food Sense Wales explains.


Updated 12 February 2021

Four areas in Wales to benefit from funding to develop Sustainable Food Places partnerships

Four areas in Wales are set to benefit from funding to support the establishment of local cross-sector food partnerships within their communities.

Monmouthshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and Powys have secured grants through Sustainable Food Places and Blaenau Gwent has received funding from Natural Resources Wales to develop food partnerships that aim to create healthy, more sustainable and more equitable local food systems.

Sustainable Food Places is a partnership programme led by the Soil Association, Food Matters, and Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. It is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund, and currently has 55 members across the UK.

Food Sense Wales is Sustainable Food Place’s national partner in Wales and will be supporting the four projects as they work to create their own partnership models and join Food Cardiff and Food Vale in becoming fully fledged members of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network.

Read more here


Updated 8 February 2021

Grants awarded to five small horticultural business in Wales to help increase vegetable production

Five small horticultural business in Wales will benefit from grants to help grow their edible horticultural businesses to serve communities across Wales.

In a bid to help smaller Welsh initiatives to increase their production and in turn, increase veg consumption, Food Sense Wales along with partners Social Farms & Gardens, have awarded grants to five food enterprises with no more than 5-Hectares of production land.

These small grants, worth between £2,500 and £5,000 have been offered as part of the Peas Please project, a UK National Lottery funded programme whose main aim us to drive up veg consumption. This support is being delivered in Wales by Food Sense Wales, which leads on Peas Please work in Wales, in partnership with Social Farms & Gardens.

Read more here


Updated 15 January 2021

A time for change?

With the conversation around Free School Meals more prevalent than ever, Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales addresses the huge difficulties that many families face and discusses how reviewing Wales’ Free School Meals system could provide a possible solution. 


Read the full article here


Updated 18 December 2020

Food Cardiff and Food Power join forces to help support families in Cardiff 

Food Cardiff's Food and Poverty group is to receive £17,000 worth of funding from Food Power to support children and families at risk of food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Food Power for Generation Covid’ which will help provide food for vulnerable children and their families by awarding grants to UK community projects like Food Cardiff’s Food and Poverty Group.

Read more about the project here


Updated 17 December 2020

A Child’s Christmas in Wales?

As we start to look forward to the Christmas holidays, Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales addresses the difficulties that many families will face and discusses how reviewing Wales’ Free School Meals system could provide a possible solution.

Read the full piece here


Updated 10 December 2020

UK FOOD BUSINESSES HAVE SERVED 162 MILLION EXTRA PORTIONS OF VEG IN 3 YEARS AS A RESULT OF INNOVATIVE PEAS PLEASE INITIATIVE

The 2019-2020 progress report released on Monday 7th December by Peas Please – a project that works to make vegetables more appealing, accessible, and affordable – unpacks the ‘Veg Pledges’ made by 25 Veg Cities and 70 contract caterers, high street chains, retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, public food procurers and broadcasters.

The report finds that an impressive 162 million additional portions of veg were either served or sold by these businesses as a direct result of the programme. The numbers in the report do however paint a picture of a food system hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 27% of organisations that are part of the scheme unable to report back this year due to capacity issues (the majority from the Out of Home sector, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by this sector).

Even with Covid-19 causing disruption across the food sector, the Peas Please initiative continued to deliver on its mission, with 72.1 million additional portions of veg being sold or served this year. This demonstrates remarkable progress in the right direction, despite the rate of increase slowing slightly as a result of the pandemic (approximately 13 million fewer additional portions were reported compared to last year.)

Full story here Full report here


Updated 2 December 2020

Wales can have the most secure and sustainable food system in the world

On Thursday, December 3rd, Food Policy Alliance Cymru - a coalition of organisations and stakeholders building and promoting a collective vision for the Welsh food system – will be presenting its Manifesto to Senedd Cymru’s Cross Party Group on Food.

According to Food Policy Alliance Cymru, Wales needs a major transformation in its food system in order to protect public health, restore the environment and develop our rural economy.

In order to achieve this, Food Policy Alliance Cymru is calling on the next Welsh Government to create a new Food System Commission that will tackle a range of issues, including biodiversity decline and climate change; diet-related health problems, food insecurity and dependence on food banks as well as the financial hardship experienced by many producing and serving our food.

Read the Press Release here Read the full Manifesto here


Updated 12 October 2020

Join us - Peas PleaseVeg Power, and Veg Cities

Join us - Peas PleaseVeg Power, and Veg Cities – as we bring together our community of cities, organisations, and individuals to discuss what place vegetables have in food policy, our diets, and the post-Covid-19 food environment. Free sign up here for a week of events starting on Monday 12th October. Food Sense Wales will be hosting webinar 6 How we can work together locally to encourage communities to take action on veg? and featuring Food Cardiff.


Updated 10 October 2020


Updated 10 October 2020


Updated 9 October 2020


Updated 18 September 2020

Katie discusses what the Future of Food in Wales may look like with an expert panel; Dr Amber Wheeler (Food Foundation), Gary Mitchell (Social Farms and Gardens) & Angelina Sanderson-Bellamy (Sustainable Places Institute, Cardiff University).

This event kick started the Good Food Cardiff’s Autumn Festival. For more events about growing, cooking and sharing food throughout the city visit https://foodcardiff.com/blog/autumnfestival2020/


Updated 10 September 2020


Updated 16 July 2020

New Survey launch

Children in Wales want to know about your experiences and examples of how Coronavirus has impacted low income or disadvantaged families. This survey includes questions on food insecurity and closes on 29th July. Children in Wales are seeking to find out how Coronavirus has impacted low income and disadvantaged families and to gather evidence to bring about positive change for these children and families.

The Children’s Right2Food Campaign’s Young Food Ambassadors have published their new Children’s Right2Food Charter, which has been updated in light of the problems exacerbated by the Covid-19 lockdown, and provides an evidence-based road map for the government to ensure that every children has access to a healthy diet. The Charter is accompanied by a new report which points to a lack of action, slow progress and Covid-related delays in children’s food policy across all four UK nations, including Wales, despite two million children experiencing food insecurity since lockdown.


Updated 29 June 2020

Peas Please partnership publish Veg Facts: in Brief

A new report released by the Peas Please initiative, highlights that UK vegetable production fell by 12% between 2017 and 2018 , the lowest level of domestic horticulture production for over 20 years .

The new report, Veg Facts: in Brief, finds that the UK supplies just 52.7% of veg, with the majority of imported vegetables coming from Spain and the Netherlands.

Food Standards Agency (FSA) publish findings from their COVID-19 consumer tracker

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today published the findings for waves one and two of the Covid-19 Consumer Tracker. Key findings show:

  • A distinct move towards more ‘local’ food purchasing behaviour - 35% said they had done so more often.
  • People reported wasting or throwing away food less often - 35% reported they had done so less often.
  • The number of people who have skipped meals or cut down on meal sizes due to not having enough money remained stable between April (18%) and May (16%).

  • Updated 10 June 2020

    BBC Food feature on food insecurity and COVID-19

    BBC Food have highlighted the potential impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity, in a feature that includes a statement by Pearl Costello, Sustainable Food Cities Co-Ordinator for Food Cardiff. Read more about the call for data gathering and evidence to better monitor food insecurity in Wales here


    Updated 3 June 2020

    Food banks report busiest month ever

    The Trussell Trust reports a soaring 89% increase in need for emergency food parcels during April 2020 compared to the same month last year, including a 107% rise in parcels given to children.

    Across the UK, a coalition of charities, including the Trussell Trust, IFAN, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Children’s Society, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), StepChange and Turn2us, is also urging the UK government to act quickly in providing a stronger lifeline to families to prevent many children from being swept into destitution.

    Read more here


    Updated 26 May 2020


    Updated 22 May 2020

    Right to Food Webinar featuring Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales

    The last few weeks have heightened inequalities in the UK and shone a spotlight on issues surrounding children's access to food. During this challenging time, we explore what options there are to protect every child's nutrition and how this might be introduced and implemented.

    Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, and the Mayor's Fund for London, a pan-London children's charity championing social mobility for young Londoners, have brought together leaders from across the industry to discuss ways in which we can tackle food insecurity and champion children’s right to food through our work.

    The webinar will be held on Thu, 28 May 2020 from 13:00 – 14:00

    To register, please click here


    Updated 22 May 2020


    Updated 11 May 2020

    Food Cardiff launches its Good Food Response

    With the food system under pressure during the Covid-19 outbreak, Food Cardiff launches its Good Food Response Food Cardiff is coordinating city-wide action with members including; Cardiff Council, Cardiff 3rd Sector Council, Fareshare Cymru, Trussell Trust and Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, to support vulnerable people and to promote the positive changes which are being made in response to the lockdown.


    Updated 11 May 2020

    Discretionary Assistance fund

    Welsh Government has launched a social media campaign to help raise awareness of the Discretionary Assistance fund – an emergency fund for those that might find themselves in extreme financial hardship for reasons including delays in benefit payments. The Emergency Assistance payment element of the fund could help cover the cost of food, gas and electricity, clothing and emergency travel.


    Updated 5 May 2020


    Updated 4 May 2020


    Updated 4 May 2020


    Updated 3 May 2020


    Updated 1 May 2020


    Updated 1 May 2020


    Updated 22 April 2020

    Funding for Free School Meals

    The Welsh Government has announced it will continue funding free school meals for eligible children during the summer holidays. Moving away from a National Voucher scheme money has been made available to Local Authorities to provide free school meals through:

    • A bank transfer to families eligible for free school meals
    • The provision of vouchers
    • The delivery of food items to the families of pupils who receive free school meals

    Read more here


    Updated 16 April 2020

    What does Covid 19 mean for Food insecurity in Wales?

    Zoom Briefing Tuesday 21st April 11am-12pm

    Figures released this week from a You Gov Poll commissioned by the Food Foundation and the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission show that more than 3 Million adults in Britain (6%) report that someone in their household has gone hungry in the first 3 weeks of lock down.

    Food Sense Wales will be holding an online briefing to take a look at what this data means for Wales. What are the challenges for ensuring everyone is receiving the food they need? What is the current state of play in Wales and what should we be asking of Government?

    Agenda:

    • Picture in Wales – current food response to crisis (Katie Palmer, Food Sense Wales)
    • Food Insecurity data for UK and Wales – You Gov Poll (Anna Taylor, Food Foundation)
    • Government Asks – UK and Wales
    • Questions and discussion

    To attend please contact katie.palmer@wales.nhs.uk for a link.


    Updated 14 April 2020

    Latest research into food insecurity during COVID-19 crisis

    Our partners at the Food Foundation have released the results from their latest research into food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis. The results received extensive news coverage;

    It was covered in the Financial Times, The Guardian, Metro, Telegraph, Independent, Daily Mail, Sun, Talk Radio, LBC and BBC news – please find the full press release here.

    Read more about the poll via the COVID-19 tracker on the Food Foundation website along with the data visualisations.


    Updated 6 April 2020


    Updated 31 March 2020


    Updated 30 March 2020

    Emergency online Summit on how the Covid19 crisis is affecting fruit and vegetable growing in Wales

    The Sustainable Places Research Institute (Cardiff University) supported by Tyfu Cymru and Peas Please are convening an emergency online Summit on how the Covid19 crisis is affecting fruit and vegetable growing in Wales. This is an opportunity to share how the crisis is affecting growers and what support is needed. Afterwards we will convey the key messages to Government.

    Summit start: Thursday 2nd April at 4.00-5.00pm

    To join the Summit you will need the link to the online Zoom meeting. Please email pitth2@cf.ac.uk to receive the link.

    If you are a grower you are invited to complete the online questionnaire to help inform the meeting and establish key issues https://cardiff.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/c19-emergency-horticulture-survey


    Updated 27 March 2020

    Millions to need food aid in days as virus exposes UK supply

    Our partners at the Food Foundation warn of spiral of hunger unless government intervenes. Read more here


    Updated 26 March 2020

    Our urgent guidance for local authority response

    Across Wales there are significant differences in life expectancy between those in the least deprived areas and most deprived areas, within Local Authorities across Wales.

    Diet, both in terms of food options available and food consumed, has a part to play in this life expectancy. The Covid-19 crisis will exacerbate this and it is important to act quickly to support households across Wales.

    Food Cardiff have created a briefing for Local Authorities, providing details of the urgent steps they can take to ensure all households are provided with food during this time.

    Statement from the End Child Poverty Network Cymru

    As members of the End Child Poverty Network Cymru, the network have released a statement in response to the Welsh Governments school closures to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The full statement, supported by the Minister for Education in Wales, can be read here.

    Anti-Poverty Coalition letter to Welsh Government

    As the Coronavirus continues to spread, the Wales Anti-Poverty Coalition, of which we are a member, have written an open letter to Welsh Government, outlining our concerns for people in poverty in Wales, and to offer recommendations to inform Welsh Government’s response. Read the letter here.

    Our ambition is to influence how food is produced and consumed in Wales to ensure everyone in Wales receives their right to good food.

    The Welsh Government has announced a package of support worth £1.4bn for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.
    Click here for more information businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice.

    Food sense Wales is built on the foundations of Food Cardiff, a multi award winning food partnership and founding member of the Sustainable Food Cities Network.

    We deliver pioneering programmes such as Sustainable Food Cities, Peas Please, Food Power – Bringing people together through food. Taking the approach of “advocacy by example” we focus on finding workable solutions through on the ground experience and citizen voice, and use these to effectively advocate for the changes needed to local and national policy.

    Specifically we want to:

    • Highlight and facilitate the links needed across policy silos and sectors to create a coherent food system for Wales.
    • Make wellbeing (people, planet and animals) the key success indicator for Government policy on food.
    • Create a movement of citizens, advocating for a food system that supports a healthy planet and healthy people
    • Optimizing opportunities for Wales to be involved in UK and International food networks.

    Food Sense Wales is part of Cardiff & Vale Health Charity

    Work we support

    Food Sense is at the beginning of its journey. We are currently developing our five year plan and would welcome engagement from stakeholders across the food system in Wales.