Over recent months the seeds of an exciting new initiative that could transform the food future of Wales have been sown and grown in Carmarthenshire. Now, with all the groundwork complete, the project is ripe and ready to deliver across the regions.
Growing the Future is an ambitious project jointly funded by the Welsh Government and The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development that aims simply to get Wales growing. The £1.4 million project will provide practical and accessible training from its base at the National Botanic Garden of Wales and via a network of partners across Wales. Workshops offered will cover a range of topics from growing herbs, salad crops, fruit and vegetables through to creating a forest garden, rearing small livestock and bee-keeping. With a programme of activities tailored to suit all levels, from the total beginner through to the seasoned experienced horticulturalist the project really can offer something for everyone.
Project manager Andrea Powell outlined the scope of the initiative. “With increasing concerns about food safety, sustainability, health and well-being there is undoubtedly a need to stimulate more local food production in the community, but there are many perceived barriers. People are concerned that they don’t have the skills, time or resources to grow their own produce. We want to get out into the community and demonstrate that it can be simple and fun as well as rewarding. Building a network of horticultural expertise across Wales will enable us to provide easy access to local training and offer the necessary support to help people grow with confidence.”
In addition to the training being delivered in the community, the project will also be running courses at its own 2.5 acre growing site at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.
“We’ve been allocated a space at the Garden and this has enabled us to create a perfect environment for practical growing sessions,” explains Andrea. “The team have put a lot of hard work in over the last few months to prepare the site and it is now up and running. The first introductory courses have been well received and we’re now ready to expand our offering to make full use of all our resources and have our first full season Growing the Future.”
The project will be formally launching during the West Wales Food Festival at the National Botanic Garden of Wales 11-12 May, where the team will be offering a range of fun family growing activities.
Growing the Future will be exhibiting at festivals and events across Wales this Spring including the RHS Cardiff Show from April 19 – 21; the Royal Welsh Spring Festival from 18 – 19 May and will also be at RHS Chelsea from 21 – 25 May so look out for the Growing the Future trailer, meet the team and get growing!
To find out more about the project, join the mailing list or find out what’s happening in your area visit www.growingthefuture.co.uk .