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Welsh food producers on mission to make school menus more sustainable at national expo

CELEBRATING Welsh produce is food and drink to Larder Cymru.

The team behind the pioneering initiative will be attending the LACA School Food Show in Birmingham over two days from Wednesday July 3.

Delivered by Menter Môn, Larder Cymru – which is working with Wrexham, Flintshire, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Cardiff, and Caerphilly councils as part of the Welsh Food for Schools pilot scheme – is to be joined by two heavyweights of the industry, Harlech Foodservice and Llanelli’s Castell Howell.

With support from the Food and Drink Wales Foodservice programme they are on a mission to showcase the very best produce and producers from across Wales and highlight how, by buying from them, schools will shorten their supply chains, encouraging sustainability, lowering carbon emissions and supporting the economy. 

Larder Cymru Food Lead David Wylie from Anglesey believes developing regional supply chains will benefit both local authorities and the private sector. 

“The LACA School Food Show is a key date in the calendar for us,” he said.

“It’s an important platform to shine a light on the amazing companies of all sizes we have producing high-quality food and drink in Wales, and an opportunity to champion their case among the education sector’s big decision makers.

“Buying Welsh is a message we have driven for several years now, and it is more vital than ever, for both environmental and financial reasons given the challenges facing both the planet and business owners, in Wales and beyond.”

David added: “We hope to meet up and discuss these issues while at the show, and to forge new partnerships that will foster collaboration long-term and put more Welsh produce on the menu for school pupils.”

The theme for this year’s conference, exhibition, competitions, and awards extravaganza is ‘Levelling Up School Food’, which has been chosen to put the focus on the fact that providing nutritious meals to children has become increasingly challenging due to significant cost increases, staff shortages and funding shortfalls.

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Various speakers and panel sessions will explore strategies that can help to ensure that all children and young people receive the very best school food to support their growth and learning.

Among the highlights will be LACA’s new ambassador, former National Chef of the Year Mark Sargeant. 

National Vice Chair of LACA, Judith Gregory said the organisation is there to give everyone who provides catering within the education sector “a voice”.

She added: “We are pleased to again have Larder Cymru in attendance, celebrating and raising awareness of the many great food producers in Wales and the role they can play in supplying healthy, nutritious food to the education sector.

“By all working together we will continue to do all we can to raise standards, for this and future generations, and to bring down the carbon footprints of local authorities across the UK.”

Larder Cymru Welsh Food for Schools is funded by the Welsh Government Backing Local Firms Fund. 

Menter Môn, through this scheme and other innovative projects, seeks to make a positive impact on communities by creating and providing opportunities for businesses and individuals.

For more on the LACA School Food Show, visit LACA School Food Show | LACA, the school food people.

For more information on Larder Cymru, visit the Larder Cymru website or email [email protected]. Alternatively, follow @mentermon on social media.