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 brings together farmers, retailers, and restaurant chains, caterers, processors and government departments with a common goal of making it easier for everyone to eat veg. Other UK project partners involved in this initiative are The Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland, Food NI and Belfast Food Network.
A ground-breaking programme focused specifically on veg, Peas Please aims to secure commitments from industry and government to improve the availability, acceptability (including convenience), affordability, and quality of the vegetable offer in shops, schools, restaurants and beyond, and in turn stimulate increased vegetable consumption among the UK public, particularly children and those on a low income.
Since the project launched four years ago, Peas Please has delivered 162 million additional portions of vegetables into our food system working across the UK. More than 100 organisations have also already pledged to play their part to help everyone in Britain eat an extra portion of veg a day. These pledges are known as Veg Pledges. In Wales, we are currently managing 8 national pledgers, 24 local pledges through Food Cardiff and the 25 Veg city pledgers in partnership with Sustain/Sustainable Food Places. One example is Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which continues to innovate with its Healthy retail and restaurant standards and flagship Y Gegin restaurant as well as a hospital veg stall.
Peas Please has also recruited 22 people from across Wales to become Veg Advocates, working as individual agents of change in their local communities and helping to drive the enormous changes needed in our quest to get everyone eating more veg.
And in a bid to increase local production, Food Sense Wales along with partners Social Farms & Gardens, recently awarded five Peas Please grants of between £2500 and £5000 to assist smaller edible horticultural businesses operating in Wales.
The Peas Please Veg Advocates form a network of individuals from across the UK who’ve joined Peas Please to help in its mission to enable people to eat more veg. In Wales, we have 22 Veg Advocates from a range of backgrounds, bringing a wealth of experience to the programme - who are all passionate about veg! Here’s some more information about our team of Veg Advocate volunteers in Wales.
Llinos is a development Office with Cered, the Welsh Language initiative in Ceredigion. In her role, she helped start a garden project in the Llandysul area called 'Yr Ardd' - a new and exciting community garden project. Its purpose is to create a welcoming and safe community area, where people of all ages can come together to grow all kinds of plants, learn new skills and socialise outdoors in the Llandysul and Pontweli area through the medium of Welsh.
In addition to her community work in the initiative, Llinos is also a complementary therapist with ‘Clinig Bach y Wlad’, and is qualified in various treatments. Llinos, her sister Siân and her mother Lorraine have been running the clinic now for 10 years, and all three have a strong belief and passion in promoting health and well-being in a variety of ways. Over the years they have seen how important the relationship between food and nutrition is for physical and mental health of the body in terms of illness, health and well-being. It is not a subject that can sit alone. When we treat a body, we have to question what we put in our body and how we generally treat the body daily, and how this relationship can make us healthy, happy and viable people.
Llinos is looking forward to using this role as a platform to share what she already knows with others. She also wants to seize the opportunity to learn more from those involved, especially about growing and cultivating food and land, and from this apply what she learns in a holistic way to her life and community.
Adam Jones is a keen gardener from Carmarthenshire. He loves growing all kinds of plants but especially fruit and vegetables and trying to live a self-sufficient life. He has always enjoyed eating vegetables and his interest in gardening started when he was 3 years old in his grandfather's garden growing and harvesting all kinds of vegetables to enjoy with his family.
Five years ago, Adam and his wife bought their first home and set about establishing a new vegetable garden. He started sharing his love of gardening on Instagram @adamynyrardd back in August 2018 with the intention of sharing his and his wife, Sara's life in the garden and their journey to living a self-sufficient life. The account includes photos of the garden, gardening advice, the lives of their chickens, ducks and quails as well as sharing the simple pleasures of living off the land. Adam wants to be a Veg Advocate to show how many exciting opportunities we have, not only to eat more vegetables, but to also grow our own vegetables locally and in a way that both respects and protects nature.
Elizabeth Westaway lives in Swansea and is an international public health nutritionist. Elizabeth wants to contribute to changing the food and farming system to agroecology/permaculture/regenerative agriculture which produces nutrient dense food that is nourishing and can reduce the prevalence of diet-related non-communicable diseases.
Elizabeth is co-founder and co-Director of Growing Real Food for Nutrition (Grffn) CIC that is trialling different growing practices to grow, measure and promote nutrient dense fruit and vegetables for better citizen and planetary health. She believes that being a Veg Advocate dovetails with Grffn's aims of promoting the importance of growing and eating nutrient dense food to ensure healthy citizens and a healthy planet.
Zoe Jewell is a student who hopes to continue with her learning and is working towards studying dietetics. Although she hasn’t before worked in the food industry, she’s always been extremely passionate about it.
When Zoe became a mother, her passion for food was sparked further as she wanted to ensure that her son had the healthiest start in life. Between Zoe and her partner, they have five children and they find that eating healthily can be very expensive, and can understand how some families turn to unhealthier, cheaper options. As part of her role as a Veg Advocate, Zoe is looking forward to helping advise larger families and children about how to eat healthily.
Zoe, who lives in Holyhead, wants to help educate the younger generation on well-being and would love to encourage them to try new vegetables. She believes that targeting children from a young age can help develop good eating habits that they can in turn, share with their parents. Zoe would also like to work with larger families to help educate them on how they can shop smarter and healthier.
Jude Thoburn-Price has a great deal of experience in community engagement and development work, finance, workshop delivery, creative media and the arts. She is interested in helping others who like her, are find it challenging to get by during these COVID times.
Jude recently graduated from University with an Electronic Music Production Degree, but because of the Covid pandemic, and the diminished opportunities in the music industry and education, has decided not ot pursue a PhD, but to help people within her community in Trowbridge, Cardiff to access and grow food. She would like to help people within her community to learn about growing and wants to help them learn about how growing and using veg can provide healthly nutritious meals for them and their family.
From plant pots to gardens to allotments, Jude would also like to help to start a grow and swap community where she lives and would like to connect with other like-minded people to try and drive this as a city agenda helping the people of Cardiff.
Jude says that having lived through tough times of the 1970's and 80's, she believes that gardening and growing veg and food is good for people’s mental health and wellbeing, and that growing your own veg enables access to good, nutritional food and that knowing how to cook and prepare it is vital.
David Williams from Cwmbran has a long standing interest in sustainability and health. As a founder member of a community woodland group, David also has a strong interest in community involvement and sees the importance of outdoors for health and wellbeing. He is also a Board member with Llais y Goedwig – an umbrella body for community woodlands in Wales and understands the importance of promoting growing, gathering and accessing natural foods.
Professionally, David works in a regional role across health and social care but is new to food systems. He believes that access to healthy food should be universal - not just for the well off. David would like to see more access to land for people to grow food, and learn about the natural world. He believes that it’s very important to help people connect with what they eat - and how good fresh food can be.
Poppy Nicol is project coordinator at Global Gardens Project, a community growing project in Cardiff. She also undertakes research on sustainable and just food system futures.
Poppy would like to see more affordable, agroecological produce available for all communities. She would also like to see more opportunities for people to learn more about growing fruit and veg and more possibilities for future agroecological growers to access land.
Tendai Tandi is new to food systems work. Tendai from Cardiff believes that she has managed to reverse type 2 diabetes naturally using plants as her medicine and believes that increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables is beneficial for people’s health as well as the prevention of lifestyle related diseases like diabetes. She thinks that it’s vitally important for communities to have access to fruits and vegetables, and that they’re taught how to cook with them and store them in order to reduce waste and look after the environment.
Tendai says that it’s really important to have a diverse group of people as Veg Advocates and as a member of the Black African community in Cardiff, says that she’ll be able to reach the BME community. Tendai wants to see people eating more vegetables and fruits for both their health and their wellness.