On Thursday 9 November Food Cardiff took part in a Veg Summit, hosted by Food Sense Wales at Yr Egin in Carmarthen to celebrate the work and achievements of the Peas Please initiative in Wales.
Peas Please is a UK-wide lottery-funded initiative that is now in its final year. Established in 2019, Peas Please’s mission has been to make it easier for everyone in the UK to eat more veg. Throughout the duration of the four-year programme, Food Sense Wales has led on the Peas Please work in Wales and over the years has brought together farmers, retailers, and restaurant chains, caterers, processors and government departments with a common goal of making it easier for everyone to eat veg.
A ground-breaking programme focused specifically on veg, Peas Please has aimed 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 Peas Please project launched four years ago, 1.1 billion cumulative additional portions of vegetables have been sold or served and 110 organisations pledged to play their part to help everyone in the UK eat an extra portion of veg a day. These pledges are known as Veg Pledges and in Wales, Food Sense Wales managed 8 national pledgers, 24 local pledges through Food Cardiff and the 25 Veg city pledgers in partnership with Sustainable Food Places. Eight retailers also added value to the Healthy Start scheme across the UK and in Wales, 22 people were recruited 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.
During the Veg Summit, Food Cardiff’s co-ordinator, Pearl Costello presented on the impact Cardiff’s Veg Cities campaign had:
“The Veg Cities campaign was developed in 2018 as a place-based offshoot of Peas Please, led by Sustain, to support food partnerships to take local action to grow, cook, sell, serve and save more veg. Since inception the Cardiff Veg Cities campaign has led to hundreds of thousands of additional portions of vegetables being served in the city.
“Thanks to the relentless efforts of local growers, community groups, public bodies and citizens, Cardiff has witnessed a vegetable revolution. Importantly, the campaign didn’t just focus on one aspect of the food cycle; it tackled every stage comprehensively,” she said.
Pearl was joined by a panel of a local pledger (Cardiff & Vale University Health Board), a Veg Advocate (Poppy Nicol, Global Gardens project) and a veg grower who took part in Cardiff’s Bridging the Gap big ideas workshop.
If you missed the Wales Veg Summit and would like to catch up on all of the panel discussions and conversations, you can watch the event here.