Food Vale showcases the innovation of local businesses

Local food Businesses across the Vale of Glamorgan have been forced to show resilience and adaptability over the past months in their bid to support their communities with safe and relevant food and drink services. Now a brand new website will provide a lengthy and growing list of the area’s food businesses’ services and offerings to help people eat well and access good food easily.

The new Food Vale website, which launches today, provides up to date information for residents during Covid-19 about how they can access food services in the area. It offers a comprehensive guide to the food businesses currently operating in the Vale, whilst also offering advice on healthy eating, eating on a budget, and additional support available in the area for vulnerable individuals. The site also offers information for local organisations and food businesses in the area with advice and guidance on how to continue operating during covid-19.

One of the business owners featured is Cowbridge based ‘The Food Collective’. Bringing together a group of 20+ local food producers, the collective usually runs an online farmers market where people collect their shopping from Cowbridge Town hall every Thursday. With the outbreak of Covid-19 and the shutting of the Town hall, the business offer quickly changed to a drive through collection service. Orders are boxed and transported to Cowbridge in a refrigerated trailer. People now drive past, hold up their names on a piece of paper in their windscreen, or call out their names and the boxes are loaded into the boots of customers’ cars.

Myfanwy Edwards, Director at Cowbridge Food Collective said: “I felt it was important to keep the service going, both for the customers – many of who are self- isolating and relying on the food we are supplying, and for the local producers – many of whom now have no other income as most farmers markets, restaurants and cafes are closed.  It is providing a vital service for people wanting to obtain good quality, locally produced fresh food.

“Our new service has been particularly well received by those members of the community who are vulnerable and self-isolating. Many people are collecting orders for relatives, or neighbours. We have several villages who have formed a rota and they take it in turns to collect all orders from the village – sometimes as many as 12- 15 orders.

“We have had a fantastic reaction from all our customers, who have been grateful for the completely contactless shopping. They have all been delighted with the quality of the produce and we have trebled the number of people who shop with us regularly.”

Executive Director of Public Health at Cardiff and Vale Health board, Fiona Kinghorn said: “Food Vale – Bwyd Y Fro aims to provide “a good meal for everybody – everyday” whilst supporting local businesses and creating opportunities to connect individuals and enable collaboration. There has never been a more important time to connect and work in partnership than now, so we are delighted to be able to offer this website as a comprehensive source of food-related advice and support for the whole of the Vale community. We hope it will help you to find ways to feed yourself, your family and your community, in a way that is safe, affordable and nutritious during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Food Vale aims to improve the access, affordability and availability of good food across the Vale of Glamorgan by encouraging local residents to eat well. The partnership brings together members from a variety of local organisations and food businesses, using food to connect communities and improve lives. This website has received funding through the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Wales Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (RDP), which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

If you are a food business in need of specific support and cannot find it here please do get in touch with the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Crisis Support team on 01446 729592