Food presentation: minutes of meeting 30/03/10

Present:   Tricia Griffiths (Chair) 7 visitors & 23 others

Apologies: Mary Taster, Ramesh Patel, Val Roberts, Alison Norris

1. Introduction to Food topic by Sandy Clubb

Covered issues including:

  • The concept of being ‘only 9 meals from anarchy’ i.e. the supermarkets only stock enough food for three days,
  • Buying food from developing countries for example the impact exporting green beans from Kenya has on local crops,
  • Ways in which individual can make a difference by changing what we buy, where we buy it, growing more of our own.


Panel were then each invited to contribute their thoughts (note the following are very brief notes – apologies if any topics are accidentally omitted):

Cowbridge and Vale Farmers Market – Anders Leijerstam

  • Highlighted difficulties that upcoming loss of subsidies will cause – farmers will either be forced to pass on extra costs to customers or go out of business
  • Recommended the film Food.inc
  • Talked briefly about initiatives the Farmers market is doing such as Friends of the Framers Market scheme.

Foxy’s Deli – Sian Fox

  • Noted that about half of the audience were current customers.
  • The deli and café aim to buy locally sourced produce – estimate the 65% is local.
  • This year she has seen a decrease in business as a result of the recession.
  • Noted that not always easy to source locally – she has found cheaper welsh cheese from a London supplier than a local one.
  • Regularly talks at local schools.
  • Recommends the film Supersize Me.

Lush Butcher – Mr David Lush

  • Noted that through the Second World War the UK produced all it’s own meat and veg, and most was local as there was no established motorway network for distribution.
  • He aims to source local – the furthest supplier is at Ross on Wye.
  • Beware not all meat is labelled accurately – suggested asking in restaurants and shops for origin of meat.

Jo’s Organics – Neil

  • Food is a very complicated topic.
  • If we concentrate solely on price then we will inevitably shop at large supermarkets.
  • However suggested deliberately comparing one month of supermarket shopping costs with a month of local shopping. Recounted story of one customer who did this and found they spent less as local shopping is more focussed, so less likely to be swayed by unnecessary purchases and offers.
  • Have to be willing to spend extra for good quality food.
  • On Framers Market days his shop is quieter so although the market is good it may not be bringing new customers – the same people are shopping there who already shop locally.

Veg and Flower Grower – John Roberts

  • Sells primarily from his farm, often to local buying groups
  • Noted people have forgotten seasonal vegetables, recounted tale of catering college calling to request courgettes in January.
  • He sells at Riverside Market – interesting dilemma there where the market has gone plastic bag free. How to bag and sell salad so that it remains fresh and doesn’t wilt?

Other comments from the floor

  • Pre plastic bag era shopped more often so less need to buy food to last weeks/months.
  • Labelling is a big issue – differentiating between local, seasonal, fair trade etc
  • We should be aiming to educate shoppers rather than limit their choice
  • Good food should be expensive
  • Could Penarth be a ‘Good Food Town’?
  • Close Glebe Street and have a local market (Mr Lush volunteered to show us all how to make sausages)

Comments from panel regarding political changes

  • More restrictive planning policy towards supermarkets
  • Government to consider how to safeguard UK food production
  • Provide subsidies for veg growers!

2. Other Business

Arcot Street Contra Flow

  • Council have removed this from the plans without consulting locals
  • Considering taking to Public Services Ombudsman

Letter in Penarth Times regarding Pelican versus Puffin crossing

This has generated a number of follow on comments and discussions.

Hustings 22nd April 7pm at the Tabernacle Church

  • GPG has withdrawn from the hustings in light of a complaint that a single-issue group would not be impartial
  • PG to circulate contact details for questions to members

Grants

GPG has been awarded a £1000 start up grant from Environment Wales

Cittaslow

A number of members attended Cittaslow presentation and were impressed by the idea. Determined that it would be compatible with GPG’s aims but would need commitment and leadership from council to coordinate the required input from many local groups.

3. Project updates

Plot share scheme

  • To be launched at end of April.
  • Have received a free mobile phone from fone house on Glebe Street to use for receiving messages from potential plot owners and users.

Loyalty Card

  • Started on the design of the card.
  • Determined that requires 20 retailers to be viable.
  • Preparing a mini agreement for the retailers.

Plastic Bags

  • Schools have been designing images for the bags.
  • Applied for a grant to manufacture and distribute.

Cosmeston Orchard

  • Sadly the funding from Tidy Towns and Keep Wales Tidy for the trees has fallen through due to the location of the orchard within the area of Cosmeston Village which has an entry fee.
  • As the timing for grafting onto suitable rootstock was crucial the tree order has already been placed for 30 trees costing £300.
  • Agreed in principle to proceeding with the project without external funding. Once costs are confirmed will consider alternative methods for raising the funds.

Food Forum

Collected names of people interested in participating in a food forum and will be initiating this as another project.

4. Next meeting – Monday 7th June 6pm

Discussed possible topics and agreed next meeting would include a series of short presentations around the topic of trees and gardens including:

  • Medieval Orchard (what is it, how does it differ from modern orchards),
  • general information on fruit trees (how to prune, when to prune etc)
  • Plot share update and opportunity for comments.

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