On 8th June, a pioneering event at Senedd brought together three initiatives that have been funded by the Welsh Government's Rural Development Programme to explore the next steps for public procurement of sustainable food and supply chain development in Wales. Social Farms & Gardens, Menter Môn, and PLANED presented their achievements, opportunities, and recommendations for delivering local food for local people that benefits the environment, economy, and society.
Abi Marriott, Coordinator of the Wales Community Food Distribution (WCFD), said, "the 'Welsh Food Futures' event provided clear evidence from all three pilots, demonstrating how different models can work together to support public procurement of food that delivers environmental, economic, and social benefits to the people of Wales."
The event was sponsored by Senedd Ministers from across the parties, including Cefin Campbell MS, Eluned Morgan MS, Jane Dodds MS, Peter Fox MS and Russell George MS.
Attendees had the opportunity to engage in Q&A sessions and presentations, as well as participate in small focus groups that allowed them to share their experiences and views on delivering local food for local people, and the needs for delivering environmental gains, high nutritional values, and carbon savings through public procurement.
One of the attendees told us “it was brilliant to see the culmination of PLANED, Menter Môn and Social Farms and Gardens’ hard work. The showcase was a valuable insight into the potential future of Wales’ food industry, and really highlighted the value of new and innovative models such as the ones we saw today.”
Through this exchange of knowledge and ideas, the pilot programmes demonstrated how different models can work together successfully, supporting public procurement of sustainable food and short supply chains that deliver environmental, economic, and social benefits.
During the event, attendees learned about project outcomes, key recommendations and heard from community members and project beneficiaries.
"We were delighted to see so many guests from across the parties encouraging conversations about food and the challenges and opportunities of creating a local, sustainable food supply chain.” Sam Stables, Produce Officer (WCFD)
The event also showcased food and drink from Welsh suppliers, highlighting their carbon footprint and nutrient density. Participating suppliers included Welsh Brew Tea, Dwyfor Coffee, Coffi Dre, The Morris's farm in Crickhowell, Hooma Hu – Veg, Newtown Cultivate – Microgreens from CEA, Microacers Wales, Valleys Veg, Llaeth y Llan, South Caernarfon Creameries, Edwards of Conwy, and bread from Welsh bakeries such as Village Bakery.
Overall, the Welsh Food Futures event was a great success in bringing together key stakeholders to explore innovative models for public procurement of sustainable food and short supply chains in Wales. The initiatives showcased their achievements, opportunities, and recommendations for delivering local food that benefits the environment, economy, and society.