Pollinator Plan makes Beeline for Community Growing
The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) has welcomed today's launch of a Welsh Government action plan to boost Wales' ailing bee population by encouraging more green spaces, including community growing projects and allotments.
The Draft Action Plan for Pollinators for Wales Consultation is an attempt to protect threatened insect pollinators such as honey and bumble bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Pollinator numbers, particularly bees have been on the decline for many years.
FCFCG, through its Tyfu Pobl programme, is already planning a national campaign to highlight the plight of pollinators (and what growers can do to support and improve habitats) in partnership with other environmental organisations in Wales.
More than 350 community growing projects around Wales are addressing declining pollinator numbers by creating habitats, refraining from pesticide use and planting pollinator friendly plants to encourage and support pollinators. Many community gardens and allotments have also introduced bee hives and seen the benefit this has on increased crop yields as well as the producing their own honey. The hives are often used as an educational tool to inform visitors, including school children, about the vital role bees and pollinating insects play in food production.
FCFCG will be encouraging community growers around Wales to comment on the draft plan and share their experience of the benefits of wildlife friendly gardening. We will also continue to promote pollinator friendly gardening by running workshops and training events to support the work of community growers in Wales.
Katie Jones, FCFCG Wales Development Manager said: "We are pleased that Wales is leading the way in terms of environmental and food strategy - the importance of pollinating insects to our food supply chain must not be underestimated.
The Government's draft plan clearly recognises the vital role that community farms, gardens and allotments play in protecting and improving the biodiversity of Wales and in reconnecting people with food production."
Community Land Advisory Service Launched in Wales
Communities in Wales wanting to grow food for climate and health benefits will get more land to cultivate, thanks to a new project funded by the Big Lottery Fund (BIG). The Community Land Advisory Service in Wales will help tackle the shortage of available land for community gardening using a £600,000 grant from BIG's Climate Change Programme. Read more: Community Land Advisory Service in Wales
Growing the Future - Expressions of Interest
Growing the Future (GTF) is a new pilot project jointly funded from the Welsh Government and The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development under the Knowledge Transfer Scheme until January 2015. GTF has been established to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of creating and using a number of hubs around Wales to deliver horticultural training to those interested in improving their skills for growing their own food produce throughout Wales as well as attracting new growers. The expectation is that this training will include growing vegetables, herbs, fruit, and salad crops. It may also extend to testing the scope for beekeeping as well as rearing small livestock linked with food growing, such as chickens.
GTF aims to devise, pilot and implement a range of training courses in partnership with hubs across Wales as well as delivering training at the Garden. This approach will enable people to access training close to their homes with the thinking that easier access to training might mean more people 'get growing.' We are looking for organisations interested in working with GTF to provide this training across Wales. For organisations interested in providing either a venue or a trainer to work with GTF you can download further information and an expression of interest form to complete if you want to become involved.
Allotments, community growing and the planning system
This factsheet, produced in collaboration with Planning Aid Wales and with support from the Community Land Advisory Service, gives guidance on planning for people thinking of setting up allotments or community growing projects.
New food growing opportunities taking root
A new partnership has been formed to provide communities with the opportunity to access publicly owned land to grow food. The Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens has teamed up with Forestry Commission Wales, The Conservation Volunteers and Keep Wales Tidy to support communities thinking of using Welsh Government woodlands for community food growing. You can read the press release for further information.
BBC Wales Radio piece on Tyfu Pobl
There's still a chance to listen to a piece done by BBC Wales on Tyfu Pobl, with interviews taking place at Shelley Gardens, a community growing project in the Plasnewydd area of Cardiff.
Wales Rural Observatory Report on Community Grown Food In Wales
The largest piece of research ever carried out on community grown food in Wales, is now available online. The Wales Rural Observatory (WRO) was commissioned by the Welsh Government to carry out the research following the creation of the Community Food Action Plan in 2010. The research highlights the scale of food growing that is taking place on community farms and gardens, allotments, CSA’s and schools across the country, highlighting both the benefits and some of the key challenges they face. The report makes some strong recommendations, which we hope will lead to a joined up approach to community food growing across Welsh Government and go some way in removing the barriers to enable more communities to grow.
Community Grown Food Action Plan
The main aim of the project is to promote, support and encourage community grown food in Wales. FCFCG was on the Welsh Assembly Task Group which developed the Action Plan. To find out more and get a copy of the action plan, visit the Action Plan page of the Welsh Government website.