A specialist financial services business with headquarters at One Central Square has become the latest city-centre business to get behind the campaign to make Cardiff one of the UK’s most sustainable food places by 2024.
Cardiff already holds Silver Sustainable Food Places status – the first place in Wales, and one of only six places in the UK to achieve that standard which is awarded at bronze, silver and gold levels.
Now Food Cardiff, the city’s rapidly growing food partnership, is leading a campaign to bring together businesses, third-sector organisations, and major institutions in the city to help Cardiff reach Gold Sustainable Food Places status in the next two years.
With support from For Cardiff’s City Ambition Fund, a new toolkit has been created to help city centre businesses of all sizes and sectors to take actions towards a more sustainable, healthy and economically successful food system for the city.
Whilst some pledges focus specifically on the hospitality sector, the majority of actions could be taken by any business, highlighting the potential impact that companies from across the city could have towards the Gold Sustainable Food Places goal.
Hodge is a specialist financial services business with headquarters at One Central Square, Cardiff. Among other pledges, Hodge has committed to source more of the healthy food and drink it provides to staff and visitors from social enterprises and not-for-profits based within the city.
Gareth Cartwright, internal communication and engagement manager at Hodge explained:
“We use a lot of different local suppliers for food and catering, but the Food Cardiff campaign made us realise that by using a social enterprise, that events we’re hosting to bring people together in the workplace can also be supporting the work they’re doing to support people in the community. It may seem like a small thing, but if more businesses in the city did it, we could have a much greater impact.
“Food is a big part of the social side at Hodge – it provides an opportunity to get people together and for us as an employer to look after their health and wellbeing. Throughout the week we provide different food options for our team – from a fresh fruit delivery sourced locally from Cardiff Market, to making sure that people have a healthy, filling breakfast waiting for them when they get off the train in the morning.
“It might not be immediately obvious that a financial services business like ours has a part to play in creating a more sustainable, equitable and healthy food system in Cardiff. But by thinking about where we’re sourcing our food from, and the options that we’re making available to colleagues we can have an impact.”
Matt Davenport is the senior catering and hospitality manager at Oasis Cardiff, a centre for asylum seekers and refugees, based in Splott; his job involves two main things – providing free hot meals for asylum seekers and refugees in and around Cardiff, and providing external catering which helps to support the centre.
His team recently catered for an internal meeting at Hodge’s HQ in Central Square. He explained:
“As a cook, I’m very privileged to be able to experience so many different recipes, so many different ways of approaching food from all of the different individuals that have access to the Oasis – and it’s the stories behind them that make them even more interesting. My recipe repertoire has exploded in the past five years that I’ve worked alongside the people we support at Oasis, and the external catering events we do give us an amazing platform to share those recipes and stories with the wider community whilst helping to fund the important work we do.” he said.
Gareth from Hodge added:
“Thanks to the Food Cardiff campaign and our introduction to Oasis, we’ve pledged to use any opportunity where we’re bringing colleagues together around food to support one of the city’s brilliant social enterprises with a great social purpose at the heart of what they do.
Whether you’re a food business or not, the pledges that you make through the Food Cardiff campaign can be really powerful.”
Good Food Pledges which businesses from any sector can make include:
- Buy from – and invest in – organisations working towards a sustainable future
- Source from local enterprises and not-for-profits
- Provide healthy food and drink options for staff and visitors
- Become a certified Living Wage employer
- Source locally, and shorten supply chains
- Support the local community by offering expertise or space
- Read the Good Food Cardiff Strategy and become an ambassador for change
- Share your Good Food actions with your networks
- Join a Food Cardiff meeting
A set of pledges have also been developed specifically for hospitality businesses:
- Include two portions of fruit and veg in every meal
- Ditch single use packaging and #choosetoreuse
- Assess and reduce your food waste
Adrian Field executive director of For Cardiff said:
“One of the goals for our City Ambition Fund is to help more Cardiff businesses transition to the green economy, and to position the city centre as an open and accessible leisure destination of choice. These ambitions aligned perfectly with Food Cardiff’s mission to engage our dynamic business community in helping to make Cardiff one of the most sustainable food cities in the UK. It’s great to see our FOR Cardiff members stepping up to take action.”
Food Cardiff’s Sustainable Food Places Coordinator Pearl Costello added:
“Food Cardiff believes that the food we eat has a huge impact on life in Cardiff. You may think that it’s only food and drink businesses with the power to have an impact, but our campaign, case studies and toolkit show that any business can make simple changes which will contribute to a better local food system for everyone in the city.”
Food Cardiff is part of Food Sense Wales, which aims to influence 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.
The Food Cardiff strategy board also includes ten volunteer members from a range of organisations including Cardiff Council, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff Farmers’ Markets, Action in Caerau and Ely and Cardiff University as well as many others.
Through this network, Food Cardiff is driving change at a city level and is working to tackle some of today’s biggest social, economic and environmental issues.