My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Online event to discuss the future of Food Systems across the Cardiff City Region

‘Field to Fforc’ event (Saturday, November 7th from 1000 - 1200)

On Saturday, November 7th, people living and working within the Cardiff Capital Region area will have the opportunity to contribute to a discussion around the futures of food systems by taking part in the ‘Field to Fforc’ online event.

In partnership with Food Cardiff, the event will be facilitated by researchers at the Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University and is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences 2020.

This online event builds upon a number of online People’s Assemblies on food and farming carried across out Wales since the start of the lockdown. Responding to calls for public participation, it also aims to create space for public dialogue. People from across the Cardiff Capital Region area are welcome to join the discussion.  Those areas that make up the region include the ten local authorities of Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Cardiff; Merthyr Tydfil; Monmouthshire; Newport; Rhondda Cynon Taff; Torfaen; and Vale of Glamorgan.

Findings of the event will inform the Food Cardiff Food Strategy and other local food policy.

“This is a great opportunity to bring together people from across the region who are interested in the future of food systems,” says Pearl Costello, Food Cardiff’s Sustainable Food City Co-ordinator.

 “Over the past few years we’ve seen a good food movement and a positive drive for change across the region through a number of initiatives including local food partnerships; Cardiff Council’s new food strategy and the increase in sustainable farming that’s been seen in the region’s urban and rural areas.

“Covid has certainly had an impact on the work that we’ve been doing across Cardiff and has brought together a range of partners to deliver initiatives such Cardiff Growing Together as well as the wider concerted effort across the region to help feed NHS workers.  We’ve also been helping to co-ordinate the region’s wider emergency food response bringing partners together to take action in a range of different ways,” adds Pearl.

“Through events such as ‘Field to Fforc’ we now have the chance to consider our long term goals and ensure good food is embedded across the city region.”

Alice Taherzadeh, researcher at Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Research Institutesays: “We believe that food policy for a sustainable and just food system should be co-produced together with not only those who produce and sell food but also consumers and community groups. Creating spaces where people can discuss these issues and feel genuinely heard is crucial to support active food citizenship. As social scientists, we’re interested in how people experience these deliberative democratic processes and the outcomes of bringing different perspectives into conversation with each other.”

Local food producers will also be taking part in the event, looking at the changes that need to happen to help develop a future food system that works for the whole of the region.

“The thing we would like to change in our system are incentives given to local producers and growers,” says Kasim Ali from Waterloo Tea.  “To get from a start-up to a viable business will often take a couple of years or so, so some really targeted support for those kind of organisations.  We need a bit more imagination, we need to be bold, and from our point of view as citizens and as business owners I think we need to keep up the pressure to get these changes in play.”

Caroline Barr from Action in Caerau and Ely adds: “The changes I’d like to see is more community members being brought together through food and to remove the stigma attached with people in food crisis. My passion would be for everyone to have the opportunity to come and learn about food and nutrition, just learning the basics, where I think that’s really been forgotten. Food is always something that is really good to bring the community together and to get them to work together as well.”

“We’d love to see lots more small-scale food producers growing food in a sustainable way looking after the soil, the biodiversity and supplying Cardiff with fresh, nutritious flavoursome food,” says Ben from Amano Growers.  “It would be great to see more platforms available for local producers and sellers to be able to access consumers because we’re battling the convenience and the cheap food of the industrial scale.”

While Sam Holt from Llanrumney Hall Food Pantry says: “I think we are always going to need food provisions like the pantry model, which is a respectful model to support people, but I think we need to start reimagining the way we grow food, using our cityscape, our waterways and our hidden spaces to grow in a more imaginative way. I believe in projects that are encouraging people to plant fruit in public spaces. To utilise and benefit. If we can get for instance 14,000 heritage fruit trees in Cardiff, we know we’ve got enough fruit being grown for an apple a day for every citizen.”

If you’d like to join the discussion and help to shape the future of region’s food systems, book your space on the ‘Field to Fforc’ event (Saturday, November 7th from 1000 – 1200) by clicking on the following Eventbrite link: https://field_to_fforc.eventbrite.co.uk

A film has also been produced by Cardiff-based Mud and Thunder to promote the event. It features some of those involved in Cardiff’s food system – including producers, traders and community organisers.