With the food system under pressure during the Covid-19 outbreak, Food Cardiff is coordinating city-wide action to support vulnerable people and to promote the positive changes which are being made in response to the lockdown.
Food Cardiff has developed a new online food information hub at www.foodcardiff.com and, to connect initiatives happening across the city, has established a Covid-19 Food Response Task Group.
Members of the Group include Cardiff Council, Cardiff 3rd Sector Council, Fareshare Cymru, Trussell Trust and Cardiff & Vale University Health Board.
Food Cardiff is also asking people across the city to get behind the good-food response by supporting local food businesses, reducing food waste and growing their own food. Ideas, actions and success stories are being shared across social media via #GoodFoodCardiff.
Pearl Costello, sustainable food city co-ordinator for Food Cardiff explained:
“We’re seeing high demand, pressure on staff availability, closure of some public services and self-isolation. This means some people will be unable to afford food, or will be unable to access food. The Covid-19 crisis is exacerbating existing inequality, with nearly around 6 in 10 households in Wales worrying about accessing food at the moment.
“There’s already been an unprecedented response at a community level, with public sector organisations, businesses, charities and volunteers stepping up to help to feed NHS workers, vulnerable and isolated people and those experiencing food poverty. Our group will help to coordinate, expand and amplify this brilliant work,” she said.
By connecting initiatives across the city, the group aims to increase the efficiency of food distribution and the amount of food available to those in need. This will maximise the amount of vulnerable people who can be supported, support smaller local initiatives by connecting them together and ensure everything can be delivered safely.
The Food Response Task Group is coordinating the provision of food, resources and advice and working through community groups to understand where food is most needed and to support local volunteer initiatives such as Mutual Aid Groups.
A network of community partners will manage the storage and distribution of food, oversee referrals of people needing food and support local grassroots projects.
Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Michael Michael, said:
“A huge effort is being made across the city to ensure people are supported during this difficult time. We have expanded our advice line, 029 2087 1071, to give people access to the information they need, increased choice and flexibility around Free School Meal provision, so that it can be accessed through ParentPay, taken as vouchers, or provided as a school meal grab bag, and have delivered more than 3,500 food parcels to people in need.
“Working as part of the Covid-19 Food Response Task Group is enabling all of the partners to maximise the impact of our collective efforts now, as it will in the future as the city recovers from the current public health emergency.”
Pearl Costello added:
“By working together we can make the most of the amazing energy and generosity that people are showing in communities all over Cardiff. Most importantly, we can help to alleviate food poverty and hardship.
“And by building the infrastructure and strengthening relationships between the public sector, the food industry and grassroots community organisations, we hope to see long-term benefits beyond the current crisis,” she said.
Cardiff is a founding member of the Sustainable Food Places network, and through the network is supporting towns and cities across Wales to develop their own food partnerships.