New project provides access to fresh veg for families supported by SPLICE and T-GRAINS

Slade Farm, located in St. Brides Major in the Vale of Glamorgan, has been working with SPLICE Child and Family Project in Pyle to create 12% accessible shares in their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) scheme for the season.

Slade Farm has been running their CSA scheme for 5 years with the aim of providing local families with healthy and sustainable veg all grown on the farm.

CSA schemes are based on the principle of members signing up for a season of veg and paying for this up front. This not only creates a security of market for the farm but also connects members directly to where their food comes from. Recent studies from the TGRAINS project have shown that CSA members are more likely to eat a healthy and sustainable diet, with 37% reporting eating a wider variety of quality vegetables, 27% reporting eating more vegetables, and CSA members’ diets being 28% lower in CO2 emissions.

Yet the data also shows that CSA schemes tend to be a white, middle-class phenomenon.

This new partnership with SPLICE seeks to address this by creating access to high quality nutritious food for families that may not otherwise be able to access the scheme, and providing a supportive network of peers to ensure that the families are getting the most out of the opportunity.

Participants from the SPLICE project do not pay for the veg but they are full members of the CSA. The costs of their membership instead will be covered by leveraging the membership of the scheme and the wider community surrounding the farm. Fundraising avenues include:

  • Members paying for an extra week’s veg on sign up
  • Members helping to develop funding bids
  • Community events on the farm focused on fundraising

The first community event took place this October, with a Farm Activity Day involving activities such as welly-wanging, a veg patch green gym and more.

As part of a UK-wide longitudinal study into food security led by Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Institute – the findings from this project will help us better understand the impact of access to veg schemes where barriers normally exist. This research also has the potential to act as evidence for how similar schemes can impact a variety of policy areas that broadly includes food, public health, child poverty, wellbeing, social cohesion, localism, COVID recovery and agriculture.