Vale of Glamorgan celebrates achieving a Sustainable Food Places Bronze Award

Today (Wednesday, June 15th), it’s been announced that the Vale of Glamorgan has been awarded Bronze Sustainable Food Places status, becoming only the second place in Wales to achieve the prestigious accolade.

The Vale of Glamorgan, along with Bury, Islington, Leicestershire and Greater Lincolnshire have been awarded Bronze status, recognising the county’s pioneering work in promoting healthy and sustainable food. The Vale’s submission for the award drew attention to the recent launch of the Sustainable Food Action Plan, the council’s Climate Change Challenge Plan ‘Project Zero’, the innovative Food Access partnership project piloting in Llantwit Major and activities forming part of the good food movement such as the recent Food Vale Festival.

The work in the Vale of Glamorgan is co-ordinated by Food Vale – a partnership of dedicated individuals, community groups, organisations and businesses working together to build a thriving, healthy and sustainable food system in the Vale.

Food Vale, which is hosted by Cardiff and Vale Public Health Team, now includes over 60 individuals across 30 organisations and has a steering group that includes a range of members, including Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, Glamorgan Voluntary Services and the Glamorgan Smallholders.

Through this network of dedicated partners, Food Vale is driving change at a county-wide level and is working to tackle some of today’s biggest social, economic and environmental issues.

Food Vale’s key priority areas for a good food movement in the Vale of Glamorgan are:

  1. A good meal for everyone, everyday
  2. Thriving local food businesses which are supported and valued
  3. Think global, eat local

Louise Denham, Food Vale co-ordinator and author of the Bronze submission, is delighted that the Vale of Glamorgan has been awarded Bronze Sustainable Food Places status and is grateful to individuals, businesses and organisations across the length and breadth of the county for taking such an active role in the food partnership’s success.

Louise Denham, Food Vale Co-ordinator“This is something that we can all celebrate. It is all thanks to every one of you across the Vale – from the community groups who have nurtured beautiful edible gardens, to the local businesses choosing to put healthy and sustainable food on your menus and the farmers prioritising practices that are good for us and for the planet. Our achievement sends a clear message – we are determined to build a strong local food system here in the Vale, and we will certainly not stop here!”

Cardiff, a founding member of the Sustainable Food Places network achieved Bronze status in 2015, before going on to achieve Silver Sustainable Food Places status in 2021.   Food Vale, which only became a member of Sustainable Food Places in 2020, can now also celebrate the county’s Bronze status, joining Cardiff as both counties lead the way in Wales in terms of local food partnerships.  A further five Sustainable Food Places in Wales – including Monmouthshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Blaenau Gwent, North Powys and Carmarthenshire – recently became members with the movement continuing to gain momentum across the country.

Leon Ballin, Sustainable Food Places Programme Manager, said:  “The Vale of Glamorgan has shown just what can be achieved when creative and committed people work together to make healthy and sustainable food a defining characteristic of where they live. While there is still much to do and many challenges to overcome, the Vale has helped to set a benchmark for the other 80+ members of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network to follow. We look forward to working with them over the months and years ahead to transform the Vale’s food culture and food system for the better.”

The Vale of Glamorgan County Council has been instrumental in the establishment of the Vale’s food partnership and is delighted that the county’s efforts and ambitions have been recognised.

Bronwen Brooks, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Sustainable Places, said: “I’m thrilled that the Vale of Glamorgan has received this richly deserved award, one that recognises the efforts of so many people to promote healthy and sustainable food.  Local businesses, community groups, volunteers, the Council and a range of other organisations have helped encourage the conversation about what we eat and the impact those choices have on our wellbeing and the environment.  The Council’s Plan Project Zero initiative, which aims to make the Authority carbon neutral by 2030, emphasises the need to place our food systems at the heart of our work to tackle climate change. This is an area where we can all work together and make a real difference.”

Fiona Kinghorn, Executive Director of Public Health, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which hosts Food Vale says:  “It is a fantastic achievement for the Vale of Glamorgan to receive such a prestigious accolade of Bronze Sustainable Food Places status.  This award is a credit to Food Vale, and individuals and partners who have been striving hard to develop the good food movement in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The provision of local, sustainable, and healthy food choices will not only have many health and wellbeing benefits but will contribute to a healthier planet, supporting people now and for future generations.”

Sustainable Food Places (previously Sustainable Food Cities) is one of the UK’s fastest-growing social movements. Its network brings together pioneering food partnerships from towns, cities, boroughs, districts and counties across the UK that are driving innovation and best practice on all aspects of healthy and sustainable food.

Food Sense Wales is Sustainable Food Place’s national partner in Wales and has an ambition to see a food partnership in every local authority in Wales, creating a network that would form the foundation for developing the vision, infrastructure and action needed to make Wales’ food system fit for Future Generations.

At the start of this Senedd term, the Welsh Government made a commitment in its Programme for Government (2021-2026) that it would develop a Community Food Strategy to encourage the production and supply of locally-sourced food in Wales.  Food Sense Wales believes the Community Food Strategy has the potential to create a more resilient, diverse and connected food system for communities across Wales – with local food partnerships being able to play a crucial role

 “A place-based approach, like Sustainable Food Places, has the capacity to support sustainable food production as well as developing agroecological supply chains; to increase the amount of local food being served on the public plate and to encourage food citizenship and participation within communities across the length and breadth of Wales,” says Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales.

“Food Sense Wales is supporting Wales’ seven current members – Food CardiffFood Vale, the Monmouthshire Food PartnershipRCT Food, Blaenau Gwent Food Partnership, North Powys Food Partnership and Bwyd Sir Gâr Food in Carmarthenshire,” she continues.  “We are also supporting a new project in Torfaen as the county continues to develop its partnership model and works towards becoming a fully-fledged member of the UK Sustainable Food Places Network.

“I’m so pleased that the Vale of Glamorgan has been awarded Bronze Sustainable Food Places Status, becoming only the second place in Wales to achieve this important accolade.  This award shows the positive impact of people, communities, organisations and business working together to drive change,” adds Katie.

Food Sense Wales hopes that the Vale of Glamorgan’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 the whole of Wales.