‘Peas Please’ initiative calls for action on vegetables as lack of supply negatively affect the nation’s health.
We don’t eat our five a day, though we all know we should. In fact, since the ‘5 A Day’ campaign started, fruit and vegetable consumption in Wales has actually fallen.
Rising prices mean that while low income households spend more on fruit and vegetables they still end up with half a portion less per day. These families are being forced to make the decision between feeling full and being healthy as sugary and unhealthy foods often make more sense when it comes to household budgeting. With a weak pound there’s more bad news as the price of imports may be set to rise.
We could grow more vegetables in Wales: at the moment even though almost three quarters of the country is agricultural land, the area we grow vegetables on is only 617 hectares (that’s smaller than the size of Penarth).
The Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland and WWF are working alongside organisations in Wales to make it easier for us all to eat more veg. Peas Please is bringing together retailers, food producers and manufacturers, catering companies, restaurants, tourist attractions, public bodies, Ccuncils, the NHS and government representatives to launch an initiative to put more tasty veg on our plates.
Amber Wheeler, Food Security and Sustainability Consultant and PhD student at the University of South Wales, says: “We are bringing together people who can really make a difference. We want all families to be able to eat more vegetables. To do this we need the whole supply chain, government and NGO’s to work together to help make eating veg the easy choice. This is something that could radically change the health of the nation for the better, at the same time as boosting the economy and providing more jobs.”
Emma Williams, Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens Wales Manager, commented: “At a time when access to quality, healthy, nutritious food is already limited, post Brexit, the importance of reconnecting consumers and producers through community food growing will be increasingly significant. If we’re serious about tackling issues of food poverty, obesity and falling levels of health and well-being in Wales we need to make sure that we have a food system that has people and communities at its centre.”
Katie Palmer who heads up Food Cardiff, part of the Sustainable Food Cities network, said “I am so excited to be involved in this initiative. We know that the ‘5 a day’ message has limited impact. Peas Please could be the innovation we need to increase consumer demand and influence the Welsh supply chain. A fresh approach is desperately needed to communicate the value of veg to our economy, our health and our planet and I for one whole heartedly support this campaign.”
On November 7, the Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland and WWF will launch the Peas Please project in Cardiff, Glasgow, and London and are inviting businesses, public bodies and community groups to get involved.
Find out more about the Peas Please initiative here: www.foodfoundation.org.uk/peasplease
If you’re a producer, buyer, or seller (small or large) of veg, and you want to get involved, you can sign up to show your support here: www.foodfoundation.org.uk/sign-up-to-peas-please