We asked chef Deri Reed how Carmarthen’s Community Canteen and Kitchen, Cegin Hedyn works.
One of our many innovative customers is Cegin Hedyn CIC, a community kitchen and canteen in Carmarthen, South Wales. Translated as ‘seed kitchen’, Cegin Hedyn runs a ‘pay what you can’ model to enable everyone to enjoy delicious, nutritious food, no matter what’s in their wallet.
Please tell us a little about your community canteen.
We’re a pay what you can canteen and community kitchen using organic plant based ingredients to provide people with access to healthy and nutritious food no matter who they are or how much
money they have. We opened in October 2022.
What inspired/ prompted you to open the community canteen?
I have always wanted to open one. My local community centre café closed down during lockdown and was struggling to re-open, so I said, “I’ll do it.”
What makes it special?
Our team of dedicated volunteers, who week in and week out, generously give their time to make this project what it is. It’s the relationships we cultivate with one another that I believe are truly something special!
What’s your local area like?
There’s a strong sense of community, and although things are tough for many people right now, there is a collective effort to preserve unity of our community.
How has the community canteen and your local area changed since you opened?
Nothing like this has existed in Carmarthen in my lifetime. I think it’s showing people that a ‘pay it forward’ model works if you trust in people. Trust that they are doing their best, trust that if they can’t pay right now then that’s OK.
How would your customers describe you and the community canteen?
When I suggested opening this venture, people who knew me wondered how I had the energy to take on another project like this. This project nourishes me; it is completely different to running a restaurant in so many ways.
What drives you?
There’s so much support and encouragement from so many people in the local area. We’re driven by looking after our environment and making sure people have access to healthy, nourishing food if they want it.
Who do you admire in the wholefoods sector, and why?
People giving their time and skills freely.
What’s next for Cegin Hedyn?
I hope, with summer coming, we can do some work to make the outside area more lively and grow some produce. I would also like to organise some batch cooking sessions.
Find out more here