New Cardiff ‘Planet Card’ aims to make organic fruit & veg accessible to all

New Cardiff ‘Planet Card’ aims to make organic fruit & veg accessible to all

A new pilot programme has launched in Cardiff which aims to make healthy, planet-friendly food accessible and affordable for everyone – especially those facing low incomes and health inequalities.

‘The Planet Card’ will have a value of up to £11 per week – enabling holders to switch their normal weekly shop for fruit and vegetables to organically produced versions, without being left out of pocket. Shoppers will be able to use the card at a choice of stalls at Cardiff Farmers Markets across the city.

Bridging the gap

Food that is good for both health and the planet often comes at a higher cost than less healthy and/or planet-friendly alternatives; Bridging the Gap is an initiative established to tackle this. Bridging the Gap is a partnership between SustainGrowing Communities, the Alexandra Rose Charity Nourish NINourish Scotland and Food Sense Wales

Through Bridging the Gap, pilots have been launched across the UK to explore ways to make sustainable healthy food (especially sustainably-produced organic fruits and vegetables) more accessible to people on lower incomes. 

The Planet Card

In the Welsh capital, the pilot programme is ‘The Planet Card’ – a collaboration between Cardiff Farmers MarketsFood Cardiff, and a group of organic growers, social enterprises and community organisations. 

‘The Planet Card’ will be a card with a value of up to £11 per week – enabling holders to switch their normal weekly shop for fruit and vegetables to organically produced versions, without being left out of pocket. Shoppers will be able to use the card at a choice of  organic fruit and vegetable stalls at any of the Cardiff Farmers Markets across the city (found weekly in Rhiwbina, Roath and Riverside).

Final plans for the development of the card were co-produced at a community workshop in Canton last month, which brought together representatives from across the city interested in trialling the scheme.

Cardiff Farmers Market is leading the pilot with an initial group of 20 shoppers. Once that trial has been evaluated, a second phase with 120 shoppers will run later this summer. The evidence from both phases will be used to support proposals for changes to food policy at a local and national level.

“A solution that benefits everyone.”

Carol Adams, enterprise manager at Cardiff Farmers Market explained:

“The workshop was a valuable opportunity for our community, farmers, and market managers to come together and co-create a solution that benefits everyone involved. People told us that they want to shop organically, but have historically hit barriers around affordability and availability. We’ve also heard that people can sometimes perceive organic food and shopping at farmers markets as too expensive and therefore not something they feel they can access.

“It’s been great to address some of those misconceptions and help to educate people around the benefits of being able to buy direct from growers. Not just in terms of price – it’s not always more expensive than the supermarket – but also in terms of being able to buy just what you need, access advice from producers on how to cook and store fresh fruit and veg, and how to make the most of it.”

One of the growers supporting the scheme is grower Pawel Wisniewski, who runs Paul’s Organic Veg based in Monmouthshire (pictured in title image). He added:

“As an organic farmer, I’m passionate about providing the best possible food for people. Food is the foundation of our health, and good food choices now can lead to a healthier future. This project is particularly exciting because it allows me to share this passion and connect with new customers, helping them to make healthier choices and access high-quality food.”

The Cardiff pilot scheme has been coordinated through the Food Cardiff network which connects people and projects working to promote healthy, environmentally sustainable and ethical food across the city. The concept for the Planet Card emerged from two Big Ideas community workshops organised by Food Cardiff.

Food Cardiff coordinator Pearl Costello added:

“Food Cardiff is proud to support our partners, including Cardiff Farmers’ Market, in developing this innovative scheme. It perfectly aligns with Food Cardiff’s mission to put good food at the heart of strong, healthy, resilient communities. The Planet Card is also a great step towards Cardiff achieving its Gold Sustainable Food Place status, showing the strength of the good food movement in the city and making climate-friendly food options more accessible and affordable.”

People interested in taking part in the second phase of the project this summer should contact Carol Adams from Cardiff Farmers Markets at carol@cardifffarmersmarkets.org.uk.

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