Want to see more veg on more plates in Plymouth? So do we!
Plymouth is one of 30 places across the UK taking part in the nationwide Veg Cities campaign, led by Food Plymouth as the city’s local food partnership.
Veg Cities is a feature campaign of Sustainable Food Places and is led by food and farming charity Sustain in partnership with the wider Peas Please initiative. The campaign aims to grow, cook, sell, serve and save more vegetables, increasing both availability and consumption all over the country.
Why veg and why now?
Despite the mounting evidence of the beneficial health effects, we now buy about the same amount of veg as we did in the mid-1970s. Fruit purchasing (fresh and processed), on the other hand, has increased by over 50% over the same period, indicating that specific attention is needed on veg purchasing and consumption. Worryingly, a report released in April 2022 by VegPower has found that that the increased price of groceries has reduced fresh vegetable purchasing across the UK, with nearly half of lower income families buying less fresh veg. The need to take action is clear and the good news is that there are lots of ways to get involved.
In the UK, taking the inflation rate into account, prices for fresh fruit have increased 29% more than average food prices since 1980, and for vegetables the figure is a whopping 49%.
Veg Cities in Plymouth
As the Veg Cities partner organisation for Plymouth, Food Plymouth has received dedicated Sustainable Food Places funding to run a campaign across 2022, working with local schools to encourage and facilitate increased vegetable consumption and consider growing their own.
Veg Cities in schools
Working with partners Food is Fun CIC, we’ve created a dedicated Veg Cities pack for primary schools in Plymouth, jam-packed with fun and inspiring ways to nurture a new love of vegetables, from eating them to growing them and more in between. There’s also a great set of ideas here about even more actions schools and educational settings of all kinds can get behind, from creating school veg patches to cookery competitions!
Veg Cities at Fit and Fed
Food Plymouth were excited to take Veg Cities on tour in summer 2022 as part of the Fit and Fed holiday activities led by Plymouth City Counci. The team visited 29 different settings across Plymouth over the course of the summer holiday period, invitings kids of all ages to get growing their own with an easy-peas-y project planting peashoots to take home. The summer of 2023 will see 24 workshops delivered as part of the Fit and Fed programme, this time featuring a grow-your-own cress activities as an introduction to growing microgreens.
Of course, there’s plenty that we can all do to champion the humble vegetable, whether at work or at home. Here’s a summary of how different organisations can get involved and pledge actions as part of the national Veg Cities campaign. Ready to get started?
Taking action together
Actions for restaurants and cafes
Restaurants and cafes make up the fabric of our communities, and define the food choices of residents, workers and pupils. You can make a huge difference in your local area by sourcing locally grown vegetables, serving at least 2 portions of vegetables in every meal, training your staff and helping gather media and popular support for the campaign. Here’s more about what you could do and inspiring examples of action in practice.
Actions for retailers and shops
Retail defines the food choices of residents and workers in your area. If a wider range of affordable, attractive and locally sustainably grown vegetables are available next to schools and in public places, it can make a huge difference in the daily choices of local people and the local economy. There are lots of ways to take action as a shop or market stall to make vegetables convenient, attractive and normal. Check out these ideas for starters.
Actions for workplaces
Companies and businesses have a significant influence over the choices we make. Whether you run a staff canteen, employ contract caterers or have shared kitchen spaces in your office, you have a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness and get more vegetables into staff’s meals. Here’s how.
Healthcare settings and hospitals
Set a strong example by including two or more portions in your own in-house catering offer and by actively promoting increased vegetable consumption in policies and practice across your healthcare-related setting. Why not raise awareness by setting up a dedicated veg stand?
Food growing enterprises
You’re already doing great but there are still ways you can get be part of the Veg Cities effort. Whether you’re an allotment, community growing space, market garden or farm, you can use the Good to Grow Harvest-ometer tool to let the national Veg Cities team know how much you are growing and everything else you are doing to promote vegetables.
Voluntary and community sector groups deliver a variety of services and may already be serving or promoting food or working to educate and reduce food waste. Whether you run cooking clubs, are involved in training, sell food and drinks at events, your group can take action to increase the availability and consumption of vegetables.