At the beginning of a new year Larder Cymru is calling on the public sector and schools in particular, to increase their use of Welsh produce in meals.
A Wales-wide project run by Menter Môn, it aims to put pressure on public sector bodies to review their food supplies and work with providers to increase local food and drink on offer.
The new campaign comes in the wake of a recent announcement of new procurement guidelines and resources by Vaughan Gething, Welsh Government Minister for the Economy. A practical support package, the guidelines promote more sustainable food and drink procurement whilst keeping within relevant rules and regulations.
Dafydd Jones is the Menter Môn Food Projects Manager, he said: “Our aim is to keep the supply chain local, in order to keep the benefits local as well as protect jobs. We welcome the Government’s commitment to sustainability and ask public sector bodies to review how they purchase produce and to put more emphasis on regional food and drink.”
With the Welsh Government also committing to providing free school meals to all primary children by 2024, Dafydd recognises that there are further opportunities to promote local food. He added: “This is another chance for us to change policy and practice, and to secure more Welsh produce through shorter supply chains, specifically in schools. Larder Cymru lets us support food businesses to develop new supply contracts and to take advantage of this opportunity. Serving high quality, healthy local food is important, with a long list of positive impacts, including a healthy diet for children and tackling climate change through reduced food miles.”
Larder Cymru has been collaborating with one local authority in north Wales to explore the feasibility of increasing Welsh produce on school menus. Conwy County Borough Council is already serving Llaeth y Llan, Edwards of Conwy and Henllan Bakery produce and are working with their main supplier, Harlech Food Service, to see look at what more they can.
Councillor Julie Fallon, Cabinet Member at Conwy Council with responsibility for Education, added: “This is an exciting partnership with Menter Môn through Larder Cymru – and positive news for the local food and drink sector as well as our school pupils. With the cost-of-living crisis making the headlines and putting pressure on families we are pleased that we can provide free school meals for foundation stage children. Ultimately, our goal is to give them the best possible start and the opportunity to reach their potential in terms of their education.”
A series of recipes that comply with Healthy Eating in Schools regulations has been developed by Larder Cymru with an emphasis on Welsh produce. The recipes are available to local authorities and to schools that are looking to introduce new menus and procure more sustainably.
Larder Cymru is funded by the Co-operation and Supply Chain Development Scheme through WEFO and the Welsh Government. Menter Môn is looking to have a positive impact on communities through this scheme and other innovative projects, by creating and providing opportunities for businesses and local people.