Community groups to grow together
A new programme to help people set up and manage growing schemes in the heart of their community has been launched across Wales by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG).
Called Tyfu Pobl (Growing People), the three year programme will support a variety of schemes, including city farms, allotments, community gardens, community orchards and Community Supported Agriculture schemes. It is a direct result of booming interest in community food growing and creating natural green spaces.
The Welsh Government-funded programme will ensure that community groups don’t work in isolation – local people will be encouraged to share their knowledge and expertise so that connections between new and well-established growing schemes are created throughout Wales.
A new development team is already in place, with regional offices in Cardiff, Pembrokeshire, Newtown and Bangor. Meanwhile a Community Enterprise and Funding Coordinator to help combat the withering effects of the current funding climate by accessing funding sources and working with groups so they become more financially sustainable and less grant reliant.
FCFCG Wales Development Manager Katie Jones said she was excited to be involved with the programme as the interest in community growing in Wales continues to snowball: “The number of community projects involving farming and gardening has increased by a staggering 900 per cent in the last few years. That’s a huge surge, so the Tyfu Pobl programme has been developed based on the needs of these projects – we want to provide them with the right knowledge and expertise to enable them to manage their schemes as sustainably as possible.
“We hope our work will enable many groups to thrive and that, in turn, will reconnect more people in Wales with food, with nature and with their communities.”
As part of the programme, local growing groups will benefit from support and advice from the development team as well as fieldworkers drawn from existing groups and allotments mentors. A travel bursary scheme will also be available so groups can visit each other’s sites and regional meetings to enable local growers and gardeners to meet up, learn new skills and swap ideas and inspiration.
An official launch event takes place on 23-24 September at Greenmeadow Community Farm in Cwmbran, which will kick off the new autumn programme of regional gatherings and training events. Training will be delivered around 4 main areas; sustainability, social inclusion, the setting up of a community growing project and the creation of community growing spaces for land owners.