Welsh community food co-ops gain popularity
A Welsh food initiative, which was designed to encourage people to buy produce from within their communities, is gaining popularity and helping to minimise food miles.
The Community Food Co-operative Programme in Wales was set up in response to the Welsh Assembly Government’s Community Grown Food Action Plan. It is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Rural Affairs.
At the time of writing, 77 community food co-operatives are involved in the scheme, which is running across the whole of Wales. According to the Rural Regeneration Unit – which delivers the programme with the help of some 1,500 volunteers – the co-operatives provide 11,000 bags of fruit and vegetables to approximately 6,500 households per week.
Speaking about the scheme, Mark Jones said that the programme had been given a boost by the current recession. He said:
“The recession, as well as persuading more communities to start food co-ops, has also encouraged growers, and fruit and vegetable retailers to diversify their market outlets. There are also a significant number of livestock farmers who are starting to grow vegetables commercially as well as rearing meat.”
Over the coming months, the Rural Regeneration Unit is running pilot schemes to supply local meat and fish to the longer established food co-ops.
Source: Digital Journal