The Challenge Fund opens applications for a £2.1m sustainable food challenge to encourage innovation

The Challenge Fund, working in collaboration with Cardiff Council and Monmouthshire County Council, have opened applications for a new sustainable food production challenge.


The £2.1m challenge aims to identify and support projects that can harness the potential of land, technology, and people to increase the sustainable production and supply of locally grown food in the Cardiff Capital Region.

Locally grown foodpresents significant opportunities for the health of the region’s economy, it’s people and the planet, offering solutions to a range of issuesassociated with our existing conventional food systems which are based on complex and increasingly insecure international logistics and make a significant contribution to global carbon emissions.

The Challenge, which is a partnership between Cardiff Council, Monmouthshire County Council, the Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund, Welsh Government, and the SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) Centre of Excellence, will run in three phases, with success to be evaluated by 2025.Phase one is intended to assess the feasibility of the proposed concepts, and successful applicants will be awarded 4-month feasibility contracts of up to £50,000 per project.

Innovative organisations interested to find out more about this opportunity are encouraged to attend two events:

  • Food Challenge explained.18thOctober (1.30pm-2.30pm) – A virtual event outlining the Food Challenge and includes a Q&A session. To receive an invite, register your interest here:


  • Applying to the Food Challenge.27thOctober – An in person follow up event at the SPARK Building at Cardiff University, offering one hour sessions for organisations/consortia interested in offering a solution to the Food Challenge. Apply

Applicants to the challenge must demonstrate:

  • How they will increase the sustainable production of food in the region and generate positive economic, social, and environmental impacts.
  • How they will supply nutritious, locally grown food whilst ensuring a fair price for producers and the wellbeing of future generations.

Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Cllr Caro Wild, said: “How we produce, supply and consume food in the future is going to play a big part in how successful we are in responding to the unprecedented challenges posed by climate-change and biodiversity loss, as well as diet-related illness.

“Those challenges, and the challenges posed by the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Brexit, increasing energy prices, and the war in Ukraine, also offer an opportunity for change – to capitalise on our local assets, to harness the potential of land, technology and people to increase the sustainable production and supply of food grown right here, in the Cardiff Capital Region.”

Monmouthshire County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment, Cllr Catrin Maby, said: “This project presents a really exciting opportunity for innovative regional businesses to come forward with projects that will seek to sustain the production and supply of our locally grown food for generations to come.

“As the cost of living crisis continues to impact families, food security is becoming more and more important. We therefore need to grasp every opportunity to facilitate a transition to a food system that can provide affordable and healthy food at the same time as reducing negative environmental impacts”.

Gareth Browning, Head of Challenges, said: “Cardiff Capital Region are proud to be supporting this challenge to unleash innovation in our food system. I hope to see our investment delivering more affordable, locally produced healthy food which can be scaled to create economic and societal value in our communities. ”