Locally grown food is on the menu at Cwm Harry in Newtown, where the Big Lottery People & Places grant programme will be funding a three year ‘Get Growing’ project.  At their unit on the Vastre Industrial Estate a degraded and compacted back lot has been developed into a thriving community garden over the last 18 months by a small but dedicated gardening team supported by more than 1400 hours of donated labour.  The added ingredient in the garden is the soil improving compost produced by Cwm Harry from the food waste they collect from households in Newtown, Welshpool, Llanidloes, Montgomery and some of the larger villages.  The project will draw on the experience of the Cwm Harry community garden, helping community groups in North Powys to develop the skills and resources to develop, maintain and sustain their own food growing sites.

Anyone wishing to start a plot will be able to contact the ‘Get Growing’ team for help and advice or to find out more about drop-in sessions at their community hall, school, church group or other community group.  As well as improving health and well-being, the project aims to help regenerate local economies by supporting local growers and farmers and to increase opportunities for people to get involved in their local communities.  From the pleasure of growing to the enjoyment of taste, people will have the chance to reconnect with land and food culture while socialising, having fun and learning new skills.

“We see our main role as developing a support network that will in turn draw more and more people into growing food locally and organically and sharing the learning from the experience,” says Steve Jones from the Cwm Harry community garden. “We concentrate on skill sharing, working with hand tools, seed saving and swapping as well as promoting local food markets, and the support from the National Lottery is a big vote in favour in local food and resilience… and a fantastic opportunity to support the local community to ‘Get Growing’. “

Ironically as a farming area, and one of the least densely populated parts of the UK, Powys only grows 2% of the food eaten in the county, so there is a long way to go for a more secure food future in our area. There is also an increasing need to know where our food comes from and recreate a connection to seasonal foods and their natural environment.

The Big Lottery Fund distributes half of the National Lottery good cause funding across the UK.  The Fund aims to enable others to make real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need.

To find out more about how to ‘Get Growing’ contact Cwm Harry on 01686 626234 or email info@cwmharry.org.uk

Cwm Harry Gets Growing

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