Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Sourcing our food locally
As Plaid's Sustainability Spokesperson, I have tried raise awareness of the role that local food and projects like allotments, local growing and community gardens can make towards improving peoples' lives in Wales. Allotment gardening is becoming more popular in Wales and the UK. Growing our food locally makes more economic sense as supermarket food prices rise.
There is an urgent need for an expansion of local food production across Wales. I have spoken many times in the Senedd and elsewhere I have supported campaigns in my region such as the fight to save the Haigside allotments in Treherbert, and the campaign fpr a community garden in Ely in Cardiff. On Monday I went to see the Riverside Community Garden, a project which provides growing space for people in Cardiff and emphasises reaching out to disadvantaged groups. In Riverside the older generation pass on food growing skills to younger people which helps to build relationships and mutual respect. There is a huge amount of good work going on, but it could do with being more joined-up.
Yesterday in the Senedd I spoke in a debate on Sustainable Procurement. My main points were that the Assembly Government and public bodies under its control could and should boost local economies by sourcing as much of their food as locally as possible. Locally procured food cuts down on carbon emissions and food miles as well as ticking alot of the health boxes. If we put local procurement rules in place when contracts are issued by the public sector, then we can give small shops, co-operatives and local growers an extra leg-up to compete against the supermarkets.