Here at Cwm Harry we have long been aware of the need for efficient resource use and this has led to the development of both the food waste composting initiative as well as the Zero Waste project, which aims to look at the whole waste stream for opportunities to reduce and reuse.
So it seems like a natural development for us to be interested n community growing, especially on under-used plots of land around the urban fringe. We have been able to construct a productive garden on the the back lot of the Cwm Harry plant on the Vastre estate over the last three years, using compost from local food waste and lots of recycled and reclaimed materials. The garden itself was designed by a group of permaculture design students as part of their studies, and they generated a garden design which generated the maximum diversity for both trainee and volunteer growers as well as for wildlife and biodiversity.
So it was this in mind that we decided to develop and run a special community garden design course later this month to help develop a fully thought out design for our new garden on the Coleg Powys campus in Newtown. Firstly we saw developing the new site as an opportunity for all concerned to gain some experience and insight, and we also saw it as a chance to involve some local people in the garden sites design with the intention of building strong local links around the new community garden. Emma Maxwell, brings her perspective as an organic grower and market gardener with many years teaching basic and advanced horticulture courses, while Steve Jones brings a wider permaculture and sustainability perceptive to the course. It should prove to be a very interesting and useful, information packed course which we hope will be a catalyst for the new garden’s development as well as helping us develop a training course that we believe should be very useful in the future as a tool for any community looking to develop a stronger local food economy and to play an active role in community development.
To be successful we believe community gardens should include as many of the following features as possible:
- Have strong and active links with a range of different community groups
- To allow themselves to be shaped by and respond to community needs
- Incorporate strong elements of self empowerment/ training for volunteers and participants
- To utilise local resources as much as possible
- Avoid being too dependent on out side funding