Back in September, the Good Food Cardiff Autumn Festival returned for a successful fourth year, with a city-wide programme of food events all under the theme of ‘the abundance of harvest time’.
Among the many events taking place during the month-long showcase of the city’s good food movement, Food Cardiff funded 12 organisations to help them bring people together to celebrate the season in what they grow, cook and eat.
The opening weekend brought an estimated 1,000 people to the Good Food Cardiff zone at the Amgueddfa Cymru St Fagans food festival and a further 650 people attended Food Cardiff-supported events throughout the month, with more than 350 meals being served and shared.
Food Cardiff Coordinator, Pearl Costello said:
“We’ve had great feedback from the organisations we supported so wanted to share a flavour of that with the whole Food Cardiff network.
“Building on the success of our previous three Autumn Festivals, it’s been great to see not only the numbers of people involved, but the diversity of dinners, events and growing experiences which have been offered to our communities.
“It was important to us – given the environmental and economic challenges that people are facing – that the Festival events offered practical help. Sharing the stories from the events now, it’s clear to see how people came together to exchange ideas, swap skills and share food. All of these are vital if we’re to grow, cook and eat a more seasonal, sustainable and healthy diet,” she said.
Here are some of the Good Food Cardiff Autumn Festival highlights, as shared by the food, growing and community groups who organised them:
Alhusna Community Trust – Share a Dish Connecting Families Event
The event was a great opportunity for local BME families to come together to enjoy a day with friendly company and good food. As many of the families could be isolated it was a great opportunity for everyone to broaden their network, make new friends – and have a free event in challenging economic times. All attendees appreciated the event, a BIG thank you to Good Food Cardiff!
Railway Gardens – Gardening Club Harvest Celebration and Bread Making
Our first, volunteer-led, Railway Gardens Harvest Celebration was a way of thanking our local community for their support and to invite them to share in the progress we have made in building a thriving community environment which strives to care for our environment whilst creating connection and an ethos of learning across the ages. From DIY wildflower bouquets, recipe swapping, paper pot making, homemade cakes, a natural children’s play area, bread making, to raffle prizes, plant give-aways and ‘guess the amount of coriander seeds’ – there really was something for everyone.
A big thank you to the very generous public who came along to celebrate with our dedicated team of volunteers who are out gardening no matter what the often rainy Welsh weather brings. It was a truly memorable day with miles of smiles! We managed to raise a total of £170 from donations and everyone’s participation and contributions were deeply appreciated, helping Railway Gardens continue to care for their wonderful green spaces.
Growing Together – Mulch and Munch for Autumn
Growing Together Community Garden is currently nestled on the side of Canton Uniting Church on Theobald Road. What started as an unsightly patch of waste ground has become a small but abundant garden filled with flowers and produce.
We invited Louise Gray and Pat Gregory to host a workshop where we could invite our local neighbours in to show us how we could prepare our garden for the emerging winter and spring in the most eco friendly way possible. Local residents helped us to plant endives, onions, lettuces and flowers to brighten up the space, but were also able to take home vegetable and herb cuttings which to plant in pots. Thanks to being part of the Good Food Cardiff Autumn Festival, we have been able to strengthen our local connections in a project where our garden is likely to grow in size and abundance over the next few years.
Sudanese Welsh Fundraiser
It was so lovely to have a community meal in very hard times and thank you so much to Food Cardiff for helping us.
Grangetown Youth Forum – Good Foods of the World
We had the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Bablin Molik visit us at Grangetown Youth Forum for our Good Food Cardiff event. We shared learning on locally sourced food in our diverse community, sharing dishes that are healthy from all over the world.
Splott Community Volunteers – Fundraising Quiz and Curry Night
Thanks to the small Autumn Festival grant 54 service users were able to attend Splott Community Volunteers’ Quiz and Supper Night at the STAR Centre in Splott Road. It proved to be a very popular event and many requests have since been received for more of the same in future.
We served a delicious pulled pork roll with homemade BBQ and apple sauces, beef hot dogs and vegan hot dogs with fried onions and coleslaw, a variety which catered for many tastes and religions and was enjoyed by all – especially those who had second helpings! There was also a superb raffle on offer, generously donated by the community, which enabled us to raise a substantial sum towards our upcoming Christmas Grotto event for the children.
St Peter’s Community Hall & Gardens – From Seeds to Table
Having the support and encouragement from Good Food Cardiff inspired us to host an entirely different event than we are used to. Having the community join us and love the activities we offer promoting healthy eating, growing from seed etc shows the need out there to continue educating about what you can achieve from whatever space you have – from a window box to an allotment, you can grow!
Global Gardens – Tomato Celebration
At Global Gardens we have been celebrating tomato diversity. As part of our Tomato Celebrations, we hosted a Tomato Trial – which aimed to explore the health, vigour and taste of eight different tomato varieties.
In our Tomato Trial we considered plant health, growth habit, productivity and taste. Pink Georgian and Gardener’s Delight varieties came joint first. We agreed they are both delicious, with healthy looking, productive plants. Whilst the Golden Sunrise was one of the most productive of varieties cultivated and Black Cherry particularly tasty, Pink Georgian and Gardener’s Delight scored high across all of the categories. We are particularly chuffed that the Pink Georgian beefsteak tomato scored highly as it is one of our first heirloom varieties cultivated at Global Gardens, shared by Sebastian when he visited his partner’s homeland of Georgia.
We also celebrated tomato diversity with a seed-saving activity led by Poppy. We will be sharing our community saved seeds at a number of events coming up.
We also shared some delicious baked beans cooked by community chef and blogger Vaida One Small Spoon – find the recipe here.
Grangetown Kitchen Garden – Harvest Celebration
Thank you to Food Cardiff for the extra grant support which enabled us to throw an amazing Harvest Celebration for our volunteers, families and friends and the wonderful warehouse operatives from Fareshare Cymru. The day centred around celebrating the harvest in many ways, from activities and games that centred around food, such as our ‘Ready Steady Market Chef’ cooking competition, to our sports day games which included potato sack, pancake and egg and spoon races.
Our volunteers cooked up a delicious buffet and our Planet-Friendly raffle offered prizes to everyone. We were entertained by the Fiery Jack Family with a circus performance, and live music by Mike Fulthorpe. The sun was shining and everyone was smiling. What a great way to thank all of our volunteers for working so hard as a team and helping Grangetown Kitchen Garden become a valuable service to our community.
Orchard Cardiff – Apple Day
We welcomed families at our annual apple pressing event, this time in Railway Gardens. We were so lucky with the weather which meant people from near and far could participate in all stages of juicing on a sunny Saturday morning – from chopping the fruit to crunching them to pressing them and of course tasting! Definitely a team effort.
Alongside sipping a glass of fresh apple juice, people enjoyed cuppas with homemade apple creations – Dutch apple cake, Czech strudel and French compote – and tested their taste buds with our apple quiz, sporting 10 different varieties. If you’d like to volunteer with us next season or know a tree that may need help with harvesting, get in touch.
Cardiff Farmers Market: Riverside 25th Anniversary
Originally launched in 1998 Riverside Farmers Market has grown to become recognised as one of the key food attractions in the Welsh capital for local residents and visitors alike. From humble beginnings, the market now takes place every weekend opposite the Principality Stadium, with stalls running along the bank of the River Taff showcasing some of the best food producers in Wales.
To mark the 25th anniversary, we hosted live music from local musicians and food demos including a sourdough bread demo from Pettigrew Bakeries and a tutored chocolate tasting from Vicolei Sei.