With many families feeling the pinch of shrinking budgets and pay packets the buying of fresh fruit and vegetables can sometimes be a low family priority.
The Upper Rhondda Fawr Communities first team have come up with a strategy to help Rhondda residents overcome this and encourage people to invest in their diet without breaking the bank.
The Food Coop initiative allows people to order a bag of fresh fruit, vegetables, salad or stir fry for only three pounds. The bags are packed full of goodies provided at a low price from fresh produce wholesalers. The items in each bag vary on a weekly basis depending on what the wholesaler has in stock and what’s in season so there is no guarantee what will be in your bag but find some typical examples below.
There’s always at least 5 different items to a bag:
Fruit – A typical bag of fruit each week would contain 4 bananas, 4 apples, 2 large oranges, bunch of grapes, 5 plums.
Vegetables – 5kg of potatoes, 4 carrots, cauliflower, suede, green beans.
Salad – Iceberg lettuce, cucumber, 4 large tomatoes, bunch of spring onions, a pack of beetroot.
Stir Fry – pack of bean sprouts, bulb of garlic, piece of root ginger, large onion, large pepper, green or red chillies.
Local residents place orders and pay their 3 pounds a week in advance this money is paid directly to the wholesaler who then supplies the orders the following week. The process cuts out the “middle man” so to speak by paying the wholesaler directly which keeps the cost affordable. The offer is open to anyone and not dependent on income.
The coops are run by volunteers with support from Communities First staff namely Joanne Hughes and Kayleigh Cook who are health workers within the organisation. The initiative was set up in conjunction with the Rural Regeneration Unit. Food Coops are currently in operation across the Upper Rhondda with other Food Coops run by other Communities First Clusters in other areas of RCT.
The times and locations of the various Food Co-ops are as follows:
Every Wednesday in Parc Hall, Cwmparc 9:30am-10:30am
Every Wednesday in 156 Bute Street, Treherbert 10am-11am
Another is currently being set up to run from Llys Ben Bowen Thomas in Ystrad every Thursday 9:30am-10:30am
The group has recently had to close their Food Coop in Pentre due to the closure of the venue but this is going to be re launched from the Salvation Army in September and will run every Wednesday 9:30am-10:30am.
This is a fantastic opportunity for people to purchase high quality healthy produce for a bargain price at a time when many families are struggling to cope with their finances.
If anyone wants more info they can call the team on 01443 777536