Celebrating locally grown food in Cardiff

Celebrating locally grown food in Cardiff

Cardiff Castle – dating back to the 11th century – was once a vital source of the city’s food, where farmland was protected by its impressive stone walls. Now, a local group have returned to the same historic location, growing food and distributing it to locals, and their success has led to them taking over a new space, scaling up their work.  

Cardiff Salad Garden got started in 2017. Having received funding and training from Food for Life as they developed, they were awarded a grant of £1,000 to continue their work. With Plant and Share’s help, alongside Cardiff Council and Welsh Government through WCVA volunteering Wales, they’re expanding by nearly 700sq metres. 

Founder and Managing Director Sophie Bolton said: “We’re taking over the running of Riverside Community Garden, one of Cardiff’s oldest community gardens. We were growing in a greenhouse and polytunnel – this means we have access to a larger allotment space with two additional polytunnels – so we can grow a wider selection of vegetables.

“We’ve been growing baby leaf salad, rocket, mustard, lettuce, chervil, parsley and coriander – it’s picked twice a week and then delivered by bike to locals and restaurants. 

“That means people get to it while it’s still really fresh, it’s completely different to what you might get in a supermarket salad bag. 


“Along with the salad we provide, this sparks a lot of discussions about healthy, locally-grown food. These experiences help people connect with food in new ways, and maybe try alternatives to ultra-processed food.” 

As well as providing food to local people, the garden runs “Growing for Wellbeing” volunteering sessions that work with a wide demographic, providing important community support whilst passing down vital gardening skills.  

“There’s a lot of isolation and loneliness in Cardiff,” said Sophie. “These sessions focus on improving people’s mental health and well-being, but it’s really about integrating everyone together in the community. 

“We have volunteers with mental and physical health challenges, asylum seekers, people who’ve recently retired and might be wondering what to do with themselves, we've got links with the occupational health team and the community mental health team, so they can refer people to us – and with the new space, we can run them more frequently.” 

To celebrate their success, the garden is participating in Plant and Share month, to grow and distribute healthy food, highlighting the benefits for health, wellbeing and the environment.  

“We’ve partnered with a nearby community garden. We’re providing climbing green beans, runner beans and peas, which grow up the railings of their local children's park. 

“Anyone that uses the park can come and help themselves. 

“Cardiff Council have an education centre next door – if they’re doing tours with schools they often show them around our site – it’s great to provide Cardiff with access to nature.” 

Cardiff Salad Garden has been recognised as prime example of how Cardiff has embraced sustainable and healthy food to tackle issues around poverty, food insecurity and social deprivation. The city has been awarded Silver Sustainable Food Places status, becoming the first place in Wales and one of only six places in the UK to achieve the prestigious accolade, recognising the city’s pioneering work in promoting healthy and sustainable food. 

Sophie said: “With the new land we can grow more vegetables and distribute them further, doing what we’ve always done but on a larger scale.


“At Riverside Community Garden, we won’t be selling produce but sharing with volunteers –  then distributing surplus to local Food Pantries for residents on low income to access fresh locally grown vegetables.  

“We’re excited to work with the new land and bring healthy, sustainable food to more people.” 

Plant and Share month runs throughout April. To find out more and sign up, visit the Plant and Share website. 

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