Collaboration is key to ensure that moving more and eating well are the easy and accessible choices across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Partners of the #MoveMoreEatWell partnership plan have been supporting individuals in Cardiff with access to food in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food for Life Get Togethers, which are regular community activities that aim to connect people from all ages and backgrounds through growing, cooking and eating good food, initially adapted its small grant offer to enable communities to support with the challenges individuals were facing when accessing food. Together with Food Cardiff, and two other partner organisations, Food for Life Get Togethers began to deliver the project, ‘Cardiff Growing Together’.
Focused on supporting individuals to grow their own produce at home and providing advice and information on how to make meals from their home-grown food, the four organisations began to deliver ‘Cardiff Growing Together’ collaboratively.
Sharing best practice advice on logistics plans, what plants would be most suitable and how to support individuals to grow their own, the partnership approach began to reach the people of Cardiff.
Delivering growing kits and offering tips and advice to different parts of the community, nearly 14,000 plants, seeds and growing kits were distributed to more than 3,000 households, care homes and food banks in the city – which is 450 more than originally anticipated.
Beyond the provision of plants, Cardiff Growing Together volunteers also conducted 31 dedicated virtual sessions that helped to teach individuals how to look after and maintain their plants. Once the food was ready, these sessions taught individuals how to cook with the food they had grown and how to create a meal with their own produce.
Over 75% of individuals and families who were involved in Cardiff Growing Together had never grown food before – many did not have a traditional garden space to grow food. However, with the support and insight from the volunteering team and the four organisations, they were taught how to grow food on windowsills, balconies and in communal areas.
More than good food…
This collaborative approach has resulted in more than improving access to good food. Individuals involved have been able to meet new people, share stories and ideas, gain new skills and help to improve their wellbeing during the lockdown.
Furthermore, Cardiff Growing Together has been working in partnership with South Riverside Community Development Centre offering fresh vegetables and plants to local residents. Each session conducted in Riverside generated a lot of interest, attracting 70 local people who were keen to share their stories, growing tips and cooking ideas with the team, drawing on their heritage as inspiration.
Improving access to good food and supporting individuals to make sustainable changes, like growing their own fruit and vegetables, is a fundamental part of creating healthy communities that adopt healthy and sustainable food procurement processes.
The partnership between Food Cardiff, Food for Life Get Togethers and the other organisations and volunteers involved in ‘Cardiff Growing Together’ has supported individuals to make active changes that will have big impact on their lifestyles. To find out more about, please visit:
Food Cardiff: https://foodcardiff.com/
Food for Life Get Togethers: https://www.fflgettogethers.org/
Also, to learn more about how creating healthy communities can support the overarching Move More Eat Well partnership plan, please visit the priority area webpage.