How salad delivered by bike is helping Cardiff to become a top eco-friendly destination

  • Video report by ITV Wales journalist Alexandra Hartley

A scheme growing salad leaves and delivering them locally by bike is helping Cardiff in its bid to become one of the most sustainable food cities in the UK.

Cardiff's Salad Garden grows leaves in a city centre park. These are then picked, packed and delivered locally - shortening the supply chain.

Not only is the initiative environmentally friendly, but it is also a not for profit social enterprise so the money people spend on the salad is reinvested into people and projects.

It is part of a new campaign involving more than 200 individuals and organisations who have pledged to take action to help the capital achieve Gold Sustainable Food Places status by 2024. 

The leaves are grown in Bute Park, in the centre of the city.

Salad bought from most supermarkets has gone through a process before ending up on the shelf and in your basket. It has been grown on a farm, which is unlikely to be local, packed at a warehouse and then transported to a shop.

For Cardiff Salad Garden, that process all takes place within the space of a few hours and is sent out to local businesses and consumers, reducing the environmental impact.

Sophie Bolton, who works on the eco-friendly salad scheme, said: "The money that people spend is being reinvested in people and projects in the city and also it's benefitting our environment.

"We don't use any pesticides, we don't use any artificial fertilisers, we use worm compost and that's it."

The social enterprise also works with disadvantaged people, refugees and asylum seekers. 

Sophie works with Cardiff Salad Garden, who also run workshops educating people about food and developing their gardening skills.

Gwyn Myring is a chef at a restaurant in the city centre which buys from Cardiff Salad Garden. He said the taste beats shop brought produce.

"Within what, an hour of being picked, it's on the bike up the road and we get it and we can really taste it," he said.

"It's vibrant, fresh, super peppery, it's amazing stuff I love it.

"Any of the produce we can buy from the local area we'll try, like we buy sausages down the road and the salad from Sophie, it's brilliant."

One way people can buy more sustainably is by swapping an item from their supermarket shop to something they purchase from a local seller.

The Sustainable Food Places Awards are open to cities, districts, counties and even large towns. To qualify for a bronze, silver or gold award, the place must demonstrate that it is implementing an action plan for healthy and sustainable food.

Currently Cardiff holds a silver award, which it received last year. It is currently the only place in Wales to receive one of the bronze, silver or gold accolades.

The only two places in the UK to hold gold status at the moment are Bristol and Brighton & Hove.

It is hoped that Cardiff Salad Garden, alongside the efforts of individuals and businesses, will help create a thriving local food economy - putting the city on the map as one of the most sustainable UK areas.