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Let’s talk about food

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Aber Food Forum: Community Cafe kitchen (Pic. Alun Williams)

ABER FOOD FORUM are staging regular Community Cafe events in Aberystwyth.

The idea is that people come along, share a meal, enjoy good company and talk together about food-related issues. The meals are prepared with surplus food donated by Morrisons supermarket. At the last Community Cafe on January 10, supper was served to 25 people in Taste on Terrace Road. The idea for Aber Food Forum grew out of conversations between Naomi Salmon and Jane Powell in the wake of the latter’s Food Values project, which was led by Organic Centre Wales.

Food Values researched how people’s values could inform the delivery of successful food education.

A FOOD UMBRELLA

Naomi Salmon told The Herald: “Basically, what had become clear to both of us was that whilst there is a lot going on in and around Aber in terms of food-related activities, there was no ‘umbrella’ network or any sort of obvious forum that could help to bring all these fabulous initiatives and interested citizens together.

“Projects and groups such as Edible Mach, local community gardens, such as Borth Community Gardens and Tyfu Aber, ethical small businesses etcetera, all play a crucial role in the local food landscape but, for a variety of reasons, and to varying degrees, there is something of disconnect or lack of coherence across what we describe broadly as ‘our local food environment’. If we imagine a landscape, it’s sort of like a patchwork of amazing fertility and vibrant growth but with various hills obscuring the broader view.”

“The last few years have witnessed a real groundswell of concern about the way the current food system functions and a strong desire in many people to see, and to create, positive change.

“We felt that if we set up a sort of ‘hub’, we could provide a good platform for individuals, community groups, vegetable growers, farmers, small food businesses and activists to come together. It felt that while we all know broadly what’s going on within our various social and work ‘bubbles’, it’s often the case that there are great things going on that we don’t know about.

“How brilliant it would be, we thought, to facilitate the strengthening and broadening of our vibrant local food system. How amazing it would be to create a forum for skills-sharing, awareness raising and conversations about food. So, as a first step, we created the Facebook group page and started running more or less monthly ‘Community Cafe’ events. These are themed evening events which have proven to be successful and very enjoyable. I’ve certainly met people who I might not have connected with otherwise.

“We’ve had sessions where Aber Food Surplus have talked about their work and motivations and have also provided and cooked the meal. We’ve had evenings of talks about cider-making and the wonders of sauerkraut. We’ve even had a poetry evening.”

HALVE FOOD WASTE BY 2030

On the broader view, campaigners have called on the EU to halve food waste by 2030. If this initiative was adopted, it would eliminate 44 million tonnes of food waste every year in the UK alone. On Tuesday (Jan 24), the European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted on new regulations that will determine food waste policy for the next 15 years. The campaign is backed by 42 organisations from 15 countries. More than 47,000 people have signed an online petition supporting the initiative. The committee duly voted for the Circular Economy Package. Although MEPs also strengthened legislation to halve food waste by 2030, the target remains voluntary and non-binding.

Martin Bowman, a campaigner with Machynlleth-based organisation This is Rubbish, which started the UK public petition, said: “The circular economy package has potential to be the most ambitious food waste agreement in the world, and that’s urgently needed – both for the environment and the millions suffering from food poverty in Europe.”

This is Rubbish estimate that the 88 million tonnes of food wasted in EU countries every year could feed the 55 million people designated as living in food poverty in Europe more than nine times over. France and Italy already have national schemes to reduce food waste. This month, the UK’s major supermarkets have faced questions from a parliamentary inquiry about food waste in their supply chains.

Although supermarkets do make some effort to redistribute out-of-date but still edible food via charities and food banks, at less than 2% of their total surpluses, their contribution is much less than in other European countries.

NEXT ON THE MENU IN ABER

Aber Food Forum has grown to a core team of five, incorporating people who set up Aber Food Surplus. The Forum are looking for more volunteers to join their organising committee as they move forward. The next Community Cafe will be on Tuesday, February 7 at 6.30pm – see the group’s Facebook page for details of the venue. The evening will have a marine-environment conservation theme, which is highly topical due to the implications of Brexit for marine conservation. The Herald is reasonably certain Cardigan Bay scallops will not be in the menu. On Monday, February 13, from 2pm to 7pm in the Morlan Centre, Aber Food Forum in collaboration with Cynnal y Cardi have organised a ‘visioning afternoon’ entitled ‘Let’s Talk About Food’, inviting everyone to ‘drop in for a quick cuppa and chat or stay for the whole afternoon’. They particularly want to meet anyone involved in local food projects, members of community gardens, and people making and processing food locally. Aber Food Forum are interested in the food issues that concern people and their families.

They would like to improve the availability of locally produced food and build on ‘all the great work that is already being done in our little corner of Wales’.

We asked Naomi Salmon what people who support the aims of Aber Food Forum should do: “Join us! Come along to the next Community Cafe event. Come along to our bigger ‘visioning’ day at the Morlan. Bring your knowledge, skills, passion, energy and desire for change! We can all make a difference and in a world where the global challenges we face can feel overwhelming, grassroots local action can be very empowering!”

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Urdd Gobaith Cymru honoured at Young Peacemakers Awards Ceremony

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URDD GOBAITH CYMRU and its members have been crowned ‘Young Peace Activists of the Year’ at this year’s Young Peacemakers Awards ceremony, which was held at the Llangollen International Musical Festival today (7 July), for the organisation’s Peace and Goodwill Message.

Without fail for a century, the young people of Wales have sent a Message of Peace and Goodwill to the world. It is unique – Wales and its young people are the only country in the world that have communicated a global message of peace annually.

In celebration of the Urdd’s centenary year, the 2022 Peace and Goodwill Message was launched on 18 May in a dedicated event at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway in the company of the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford along with the Aberystwyth University students who helped write the message. After being released in video form, it was shared all corners of the world, from Peru to Zimbabwe, Vietnam to New Zealand and Moldova and was available in more languages than ever before – 101.

It was also revealed that the winner of the Young International Peacemaker category of this year’s Young Peacemakers Awards was Mah Zari Kakar, an Afghan refugee who resided at the Urdd’s Residential Centre in Cardiff last year. The Urdd nominated Mah for the award as acknowledgement for her tireless work campaigning for women’s rights in Afghanistan and her willingness to continue with these efforts in Wales.

Originally from Helmand Province in Afghanistan, Mah (who was 20 at the time) was forced to flee the country last August along with her brother. She had been working with USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), holding sessions for women so that they understood their rights.

This year marks the seventh year of the Wales Young Peacemakers Awards, which is jointly organised by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA), Size of Wales, CWVYS and the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. Young people from all over Wales are celebrated for their positive contributions to peace and global citizenship, and winners receive prizes for artwork, creative writing, and film as well as their positive work as local and global citizens.

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Aberystwyth University’s 150th anniversary celebrations begin

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THE EISTEDDFOD chair awarded to a soldier who died in the First World War, together with other historical objects, will be central to Aberystwyth University’s activities at this year’s National Eisteddfod as it marks the start of its 150th anniversary celebrations.

The University was founded in 1872 following efforts to raise money locally and nationally to establish the first university in Wales, and this August marks the beginning of its 150th academic year.

On the Tuesday (2 August) of the Eisteddfod the University will launch a year of special anniversary celebrations. During the event on the University stand, there will be an opportunity to see a collection of items of historical importance to Aberystwyth University, including a statuette of the first Vice-Chancellor, Thomas Charles Edwards, and the prison badge of the former lecturer, poet and conscientious objector Gwenallt.

On the Thursday of the Eisteddfod (4 August), an event will be held to remember the stories of two students who won the chair at the College’s Eisteddfod in 1912 and 1914 – Gwilym Williams who was killed in France in 1916 during the First World War, and Dorothy Bonarjee, the first woman of colour to win it.

The eisteddfod chair won by Gwilym Williams will be on display at the University’s stand throughout the week. It is among 150 objects that will appear in a special volume called Ceinogau’r Werin / The Pennies of the People which is to be published in October as part of the anniversary celebrations.

Aberystwyth University Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure said: “The National Eisteddfod is a very important event for us at Aberystwyth University, and especially so this year: returning to Ceredigion for the first time in over a quarter of a century and being held in-person for the first time in three years. It is even more significant for us this year as we begin to celebrate our 150th anniversary – it’s an extremely exciting time.”

On the Sunday of the festival (31 July), an open day will be held at Pantycelyn Hall, offering the public and former students the first opportunity to visit the iconic student accommodation since it re-opened in its new guise in 2020 during the pandemic.

Professor Treasure added:

“Beginning our 150th anniversary celebrations is a unique opportunity to discuss the University’s rich history, as well as to look forward. We have seen many exciting developments here over the past few years. The re-opening of Neuadd Pantycelyn in particular, is one that stands out as exceptionally important – it’s such an important space for the language locally and nationally.

“As an institution, we have been growing, with the first and only School of Veterinary Science in Wales opening here last year, and nursing education starting for the first time in September this year. We have a great deal to celebrate at this year’s Eisteddfod.”

As well as the events on its stand, Aberystwyth University will host several events in the Learners’ Village and as the main sponsor of the Science Village on the Maes. The University’s Arts Centre will also host a ‘Salon de Refuses’ exhibition including art from the Eisteddfod.

Aberystwyth University events at the Eisteddfod (Stand M05)

On Sunday 31 July at 11:15am in the Pabell Lên, an event will be held by the University’s Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies to remember the life and contribution of Dr Tedi Millward with speakers including Bleddyn Owen Huws, Llio Millward, Cynog Dafis, Mark Lewis Jones and BBC broadcaster Huw Edwards.

From 2pm on the same day, there will be an open day at the refurbished Welsh-medium student accommodation, Pantycelyn Hall, in Aberystwyth.

On Monday 1 August at 2pm, a discussion ‘Education, time and place: Recent research on current issues in the world of education in Wales’ will be led by researchers from the School of Education on a range of research projects, including the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the education system, and the new curriculum.

On Tuesday 2 August at 11am in Pabell y Cymdeithas 1, a panel discussion will be held about reforming the Senedd with speakers including Siân Gwenllian MS, chaired by Dr Elin Royles.

An awards ceremony for the best Welsh learners in mid Wales will be held at 11:30am on Tuesday 2 August at the University’s stand.

At 15:30 on Tuesday 2 August on the University’s stand, in an event called ‘Hawlio Heddwch’, the Chair of Wales’ Peace Academy, Dr Rowan Williams, will give a summary of its work.

Later the same day an event will be held to launch a year of 150th anniversary celebrations, chaired by Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan in the company of Vice Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Anwen Jones and Professor Mererid Hopwood.

Dr Charnell-White, Rebecca Roberts, Professor Wini Davies and Rosanne Reeves will discuss women’s literature in Ceredigion at 12pm on Wednesday in the Pabell y Cymdeithasau 1 in an event entitled “Following Cranogwen: Publishing Women’s Literature in Ceredigion” held in conjunction with Honno Gwasg Menywod Cymru.

At 13:00 the same day, Dr Anwen Elias and Dr Elin Royles discuss the conclusions of a project about “The constitutional demands of European nationalist parties” in the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Tent

On Thursday 4 August at 11am, a discussion will be held about the history of the two student poets who won the chair at the College’s Eisteddfod in 1912 and 1914 – Gwilym Williams who was killed in France in 1916 and Dorothy Bonarjee, the first woman of colour to win it. Dr Cathryn Charnell-White, Faeeza Jasdanwalla-Williams, Eurig Salisbury and Iestyn Tyne will speak at the event.

On Friday 5 August at 11am, Dr Elin Royles will hold a discussion with Mali Thomas from the Urdd, and a group of students who wrote the 2022 Peace Message on the theme of the climate crisis which was launched in Norway earlier this year.

A discussion between Dafydd Rhys, Eddie Ladd, Gethin Scourfield will be hosted by the University’s Theatre, Film and Television Department about the history of the Welsh music video, focusing on the history of Fideo 9, at 2:30pm on Friday 5 August in Pabell y Cymdeithasau 2.

On Saturday at 11am a discussion will be held entitled “Wales: Sanctuary Nation?” in Pabell y Cymdeithasau 1.

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Business

Supporting Ceredigion’s small businesses at the Eisteddfod

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THE NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD OF WALES visiting Ceredigion will be an excellent opportunity to promote local businesses and boost the local economy.

In addition to the surge in visitors to the county, a number of Ceredigion businesses have taken advantage of the opportunity to sell their products at trade stands at the Eisteddfod.

Ceredigion County Council supports local/small businesses, and we are pleased that some have accepted the invitation to showcase their products in wooden huts at Pentre’ Ceredigion’s stand on the Maes.

We welcome the opportunity to show that Ceredigion is a good place to do business, and it will be an opportunity for the businesses to promote and sell their products.

Around 15 companies from Ceredigion will take advantage of the wooden huts during the week. These include Pethau Melys, Galeri Gwyn, Bay Coffee Roasters, CreatEmAber, Yoga Essentials, Canfas, Tonnau Surf, U Melt Me, Gwella, L P-D, Atebol, Coffi & Bara, In the Welsh Wind, Recover Eden, and Aberdabbadoo.

There will also be an opportunity for people to learn more about food and drink companies in the county during the daily cooking demonstrations at 11:30am in Pentre’ Ceredigion. Pop by for a treat for your tastebuds.

One local company who has taken advantage of this is the craft business L P-D. Lowri Pugh-Davies from Llangybi said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for my small business. I’m extremely grateful for the privilege and the chance to trade along with other businesses from Ceredigion, and only a stone throws away from my home. The experience will be even more special for me as this will be the first Eisteddfod where I’ll be taking a stand, and the biggest event for my small business. Thank you very much for the invaluable opportunity.”

Why not visit other areas in Ceredigion during the Eisteddfod period. You can get a glimpse of what the county has to offer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBFvGg23UqA

Councillor Clive Davies, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “Ceredigion businesses have so much to offer and the National Eisteddfod’s visit to the county is a truly fantastic opportunity to celebrate and promote that. It will be lovely to see visitors venturing to every part of Ceredigion to get a taste and support local businesses, as well as finding interesting companies on the Maes itself. Ceredigion County Council is proud to support small businesses too by offering slots in the wooden trading huts during the week. Remember to drop by.”

You can see Pentre’ Ceredigion’s full timetable on our website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/eisteddfod

You can also download the Eisteddfod app and find more Information on the Eisteddfod’s website, www.eisteddfod.cymru, and follow us on social media:

Facebook: @CeredigionCountyCouncil

Twitter: @CeredigionCC

Instagram: @CaruCeredigion

Remember to share your photos too by using the hashtags #Steddfod2022 and #EisteddfodCeredigion.

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