I’m delighted to hand the blog over to Food Sense Wales this month. Before I do, I wanted to encourage anyone who can to get along to the Wales Real Food and Farming conference between 23rd and 25th November in Lampeter. So many great sessions on food citizenship, community land mapping, storytelling, food leadership in the public sector and more. If it didn’t involve a ferry or a plane, I would be there! Keep an eye here after the conference as we’ll hear from Jane Powell, one of the organisers and all round food citizen, with her reflections.
An update from Food Sense Wales
Food Sense Wales is a national organisation that aims to influence and impact on how food is produced and consumed in Wales, ensuring that sustainable food, farming and fisheries are at the heart of a just, connected and prosperous food system.
Welsh Government support for food partnerships across Wales
During the summer, Jane Hutt, Minister for Social Justice chaired a Cost of Living Summit during which she announced a series of intervention packages, including financial support for cross-sector food partnerships in Wales.
This funding from Welsh Government is worth £3 million and will support the development of cross-sector food partnerships. The funding will also strengthen existing food partnerships that help build resilience in local food networks through the co-ordination of on the ground, food-related activity; help tackle the root-causes of food poverty; develop citizen action; maximise the effectiveness of projects and ensure that resources are targeted at areas of greatest need.
Food Sense Wales is pleased to be working with Welsh Government on the roll out of this important financial support and has been facilitating events with Local Authorities and Health Boards across Wales, sharing information about the benefits and opportunities linked to the development of food partnerships.
As Sustainable Food Places’ national partner in Wales, Food Sense Wales already supports Wales’ seven current Sustainable Food Places members – Food Cardiff, Food Vale, the Monmouthshire Food Partnership, RCT Food, Blaenau Gwent Food Partnership, North Powys Food Partnership and Bwyd Sir Gâr Food in Carmarthenshire. Food Sense Wales is also supporting new projects in Torfaen, Swansea and Ceredigion as they further develop their partnership models and work towards becoming fully-fledged member of the Sustainable Food Places network.
“Food Sense Wales is delighted that the Welsh Government has recognised the importance of place-based approaches and the way in which local cross-sector food partnerships can support communities to respond to the cost of living crisis whilst also working to develop more resilient local food economies,” says Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales.
“We believe that investment in connected and resilient local food systems builds and retains wealth in Wales – economically, environmentally and socially – and helps to promote collaboration and inclusivity,” continues Katie.
“Over the last few years, Food Sense Wales has been actively encouraging areas and communities across Wales to establish and grow place-based infrastructure, helping to contribute to the development of a ‘good food movement’ as well as wider community food strategies that benefit the health, economy, sustainability and social prosperity of local communities across Wales.”
Information about the application process will be published on Food Sense Wales’ website as soon as the funding procedure is announced.
Future Generations Commissioner publishes Cost of Living paper
Earlier this month, Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, published a Cost of Living paper that set out a number of policy areas which could drive multiple long-term benefits to Wales’ well-being goals, whilst also helping families who face huge cost-of-living pressures in the short and medium term.
Food is highlighted as a priority and is noted as one of the key areas that Welsh Government should consider when framing their response to the cost-of-living crisis.
The Commissioner wants to see a long-term commitment to roll out food partnerships in every Welsh local authority; calls on Welsh Government to look at integrating many of its progressive interventions in the food system by producing a national food strategy, fit for both current and future generations, as well as urging the Welsh Government to make a long-term commitment to the free school meals holiday programme, beyond next year.
Food Sense Wales is really pleased that the Future Generations Commissioner is outlining Wales’ food system as one of her priority areas and look forward to further dialogue with the Future Generations office to help drive positive change and action.
Click here to read the report in full.
Conscious Food Systems Alliance (CoFSA) at COP27
Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales recently took part in a hybrid event at COP27, joining a panel of experts to discuss ‘Food for Climate: Activating Transformation from the Inside Out.’ During the session, delegates discussed why shifting consciousness is important in food systems; what role inner capacities play, and how this approach can be applied in practice to activate collaboration and transformational solutions for climate action.
Katie Palmer is a founding member of the Conscious Food Systems Alliance, a movement of food, agriculture, and consciousness practitioners, convened by UNDP, and united around a common goal: to support people from across food and agriculture systems to cultivate the inner capacities that activate systemic change and regeneration. You can read more about CoFSA here.
Massive thanks to Sian-Elin Davies, both for this great update and her enthusiasm and knowledge of all things Wales and all things food citizenship.
For a round-up of other wonderful things happening across Wales, check out our latest ‘Spotlight on Wales’ newsletter!