Joshua Jones, 11, Alaw Primary
Hundreds of residents are taking a bite out of a healthier lifestyle, thanks to food co-ops that are offering delicious, fresh and, importantly, affordable fresh produce across Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The innovative scheme from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Communities First and local residents, offers packs of fruit, vegetables, casserole and stir fry mixes and salads for just a few pounds each.
With less than a third of all RCT residents consuming the recommended five portions of fruit or vegetables a day – and over 60 per cent of adults deemed overweight or obese – it is vital the Council and its partners continue to tackle such challenging health and wellbeing issues.
Food co-ops overcome issues such as cost and accessibility, allowing residents to visit local venues to order their affordable fruit, vegetable and salad packs for the following week.
Packages are prepared based on seasonal produce and are ready for collection from the same community locations the following week. The efficient ordering means wastage is not an issue and the set prices allow residents to budget and plan accordingly. Nearly 900 residents have already accessed local food co-ops to date. And all are invited to take a bite out of the action and access their local food co-op.
Operated on a not-for-profit basis, the food co-ops are delivered via the six Communities First clusters of Lower and Upper Cynon, Taf, Mid Rhondda, Rhondda Fawr and Porth, delivered by Communities First staff and local volunteers.
Cllr Keiron Montague, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Service Delivery, Communities and Housing, said: “We are overcoming some complex and challenging issues in relation to the overall health and wellbeing of our communities. It is vital we continue to offer partnership support to enable residents and their families to help themselves and enjoy a healthier way of life.
“Food co-ops are just one of the ways in which we are doing this, allowing easy access to affordable, fresh produce, as we know cost is a major factor in the food choices residents make. They really are so simple to use, residents simply order what they want and then collect it from a nearby community venue a few days later.
“Offering delicious, fresh and locally-produced fruit, vegetable, stew, salad and stir-fry packs, the parcels are a great way towards healthy eating on a budget.
“The co-ops are complemented by a wide range of support services and initiatives, from modern leisure centres and health facilities to local groups and classes offering exercise, advice on cooking healthier food and more.”
Find out more about your local food co-op via your local Communities First Office or download the timetable.