Cardiff celebrates achieving a Sustainable Food Places Silver Award

It has today been announced that Cardiff has been awarded Silver Sustainable Food Places status, becoming the first place in Wales and one of only six places in the UK to achieve the prestigious accolade, recognising the city’s pioneering work in promoting healthy and sustainable food.

Cardiff, along with Cambridge have both been awarded Silver status, joining Middlesbrough; the Greater London Authority; Bristol and Brighton & Hove in achieving a Silver Sustainable Food Places award. Brighton and Hove and Bristol have since gone on to achieve Gold status and Cardiff hopes to follow suit.

Cardiff was awarded Bronze status in March 2015 when it became one of the fist places in the UK to achieve a Sustainable Food Places award, and today’s Silver award announcement recognises over seven years of city-wide work to ensure good food for all.

The work in Cardiff is co-ordinated by Food Cardiff, the city’s rapidly growing food partnership which has evolved into a dynamic, strong and inclusive network of good food activists. Food Cardiff, which is hosted by Cardiff and Vale Public Health Team, now includes 127 individuals across 74 organisations and has a strategy board that includes a range of members, including Cardiff Council, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, Wrap Cymru, Riverside Real Food, Public Health Wales, Action in Caerau and Ely as well as many others.

Through this network of dedicated partners, Cardiff is driving change at a city level and is working to tackle some of today’s biggest social, economic and environmental issues.

Cardiff’s Silver Sustainable Food Places Silver Award recognises the city as one of the most sustainable food places in the UK and the award is based on achievements across six key issues:

1. Taking a strategic and collaborative approach to good food governance and action.
2. Building public awareness, active food citizenship and a local good food movement.
3. Tackling food poverty, diet related ill-health and access to affordable healthy food.
4. Creating a vibrant, prosperous and diverse sustainable food economy.
5. Transforming catering and procurement and revitalizing local and sustainable food supply chains.
6. Tackling the climate and nature emergency through sustainable food and farming and an end to food waste.

Tom Andrews from Sustainable Food Places said: “Since joining the Sustainable Food Places Network as a founding member nearly 10 years ago, Food Cardiff has continuously raised the bar on healthy and sustainable food. From the ground-breaking School Holiday Enrichment Programme to the Pantry initiative and Cardiff Growing Together, Cardiff has been an inspirational pioneer and leading light on good food not just in Wales but across the UK. Food Cardiff, the Council and the myriad of organisations and individuals that are part of the City’s good food movement are a shining example of just what can be achieved when passionate and committed people work together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live.”

Pearl Costello, Food Cardiff’s co-ordinator and author of the Silver submission, is thrilled that Cardiff has been awarded Silver Sustainable Food Places status and is grateful to the people of Cardiff for taking such an active role in the food partnership’s success.

“This award is a testament to the huge movement we’ve seen from citizens, groups, businesses and institutions to make healthy and sustainable food the norm, for everyone, in Cardiff” says Pearl.

“It’s an award that can be attributed to families growing cress on the windowsill for the first time; neighbourhoods setting up food co-ops or pantries; the food businesses supplying our city with excellent food; institutions making Veg Cities pledges and designing sustainable menus, and to everybody who has done something positive around food.

“We’re really excited that the next step on Food Cardiff’s journey – the Good Food Strategy 2021-24 – has been co-designed by thousands of people in Cardiff. This city-wide plan has already been recognised as the widest and most inclusive strategy in terms of its engagement across the whole of the UK – and we plan to go even further as we aim for Gold, knowing that creating a good food city is something for us all to be part of.”

Cardiff Council was instrumental in the establishment of Cardiff’s food partnership and is delighted that the city’s efforts and ambitions have been recognised.

“If you look at the work that’s been done across the Food Cardiff partnership to change our food systems and deliver healthy, ethical and sustainable food for the people of Cardiff, it really is remarkable how much has been achieved since 2018, when we launched our commitment to achieving Silver, and ultimately Gold status for the city,” says Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council.

“In the three years since then, Cardiff Council has become the first local authority in the UK to approve its own Council-wide Food Strategy, we’ve also included ambitious and sustainable food actions within our One Planet Cardiff strategy responding to the climate emergency, and have supported practical projects such as growing 20,000 veg plants for community groups during the Covid pandemic – and that’s just our part of the journey.

“Cardiff’s sustainable food journey began way back in 2013 when the council helped found Food Cardiff, but it is far from over and we’re now looking forward to taking the next steps along the road to achieving Gold status.”

Fiona Kinghorn, Executive Director of Public Health, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which hosts Food Cardiff says: “I’m so pleased that Cardiff has been awarded Silver Sustainable Food Places status. The food that we eat has a huge impact on life in Cardiff – not just on people’s health, but on communities, businesses and the environment too. In the Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board area, we have a clear vision for people to eat well and move more. Across both Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, Public Services Boards and the Regional Partnership Board have pledged to work together to ensure that our population enjoy a healthy and fit lifestyle.

“Indeed, good food creates strong, healthy, resilient communities and it’s fantastic to see Food Cardiff acting as a hub for connecting people and projects working to promote healthy, sustainable and ethical food. Food Cardiff also acts as a voice for wider change as well as being the catalyst for hanging the local food system in Cardiff.

“Since achieving the Sustainable Food Places Bronze award, Food Cardiff has further developed and has grown significantly and its impact at a city-wide level is now is very evident. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve next.”

Carl Nichols, Head of WRAP Cymru and Chair of Food Cardiff adds: “We are immensely proud of this award and are grateful to everybody who’s engaged with the work that we do. Food Cardiff is a great example of how partnerships can work and what can be achieved if we all work together. Food Cardiff is now about to embark on its next step and will publish its Good Food Strategy in September – a document that sets out our aims and ambitions for the next three years.”

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 Places’ national partner in Wales and supports Wales’ two current partnerships Food Cardiff and Food Vale. It’s also currently supporting four new projects in Monmouthshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Powys and Blaenau Gwent, as they work to create their own partnership models and work towards becoming fully fledged members of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network.

Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales said: “I’m so pleased that Cardiff has been awarded Silver Sustainable Food Places Status becoming the first in Wales to achieve this important accolade.

“Food Cardiff was one of the founding members of Sustainable Food Places and has helped to pioneer a placed based collaborative approach to food. This award shows the positive impact of people, communities, organisations and business working together to drive change.”

“We now have an ambition to see a food partnership in every local authority in Wales, to create a network that would form the foundation for developing the vision, infrastructure and action needed to make Wales’ food system fit for Future Generations – something that could be recognised through local authorities’ Wellbeing plans,” adds Katie.

“This vision was also recently recognised by the Green Recovery Task Force and will be part of a collective drive for placing health and sustainable food at the heart of communities, helping to further develop a ‘good food movement’ in Wales.”

Food Sense Wales hopes that Cardiff’s success will encourage other areas in Wales to join in and to help lead the way in establishing and growing place-based infrastructure, contributing to the development of a ‘good food movement’ and wider community food strategies that will benefit the health, economy, sustainability and social prosperity of communities across Wales.