Monday, 11 March 2013

Growing the Movement 5th March 2013

This is a brief report back on a key meeting about shared working between organisations involved in supporting community food growing across Wales. The meeting was organised by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG).

Welcome and introduction
Katie Jones welcomed the representatives of 15-20 organisations involved in supporting community growing in Wales. She gave an overview of the historical landscape of community growing in relationship to the FCFCG and noted the huge rise in interest in community growing over the last 5-6 years.
She said that more communities want growing space, particularly allotments. She also noted that growing has been seen as a therapeutic activity in the past, but is now more driven by a desire for sustainability and food security.
The decision to invite all organisations for a vision sharing session has been taken to help us to prepare groups for leaner financial times ahead and to avoid duplication of support. It is also a good opportunity to share good practice.

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens- Tyfi Pobl programme
Emma Williams shared about Tyfi Pobl. She said that the FCFCG team was very experienced and recognised that improving, celebrating and transferring knowledge is their key role. FCFCG holds training sessions and more localised gatherings for growers and growing groups. The aim of these sessions is to share knowledge and make connections.
Tyfi Pobl can give travel bursaries to groups that want to visit other growing sites to get inspiration, share expertise and make supportive relationships.
Tyfi Pobl aims to identify communities that want to grow food, identify suitable land and supply inspiration, knowledge, training and support, both through the FCFCG and with other organisations.
Community foodie
Community Foodie is a project to identity, develop and support community food growing in the rural areas of the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and Torfaen.
The project aims to strengthen communities by increasing the amount of produce grown and consumed locally. In addition it aims to introduce valuable skills, support healthy lifestyles and bring people of all ages together, whilst raising awareness of the wider beneficial impacts of growing locally produced food.

Find out more at www.communityfoodie.co.uk
Groundwork
Groundwork works in areas of multiple deprivation across wales. Groundwork can do design, initial landscaping, practical work, training and support. Find out more here: http://www.wales.groundwork.org.uk/

Get Growing project, Mid Wales, run by the Cwm Harry Food Company
Emma Maxwell talked about the Get Growing project which is a National Lottery funded project to set up new community food growing spaces in Mid Wales, which started in March 2012.  Find out ore on the website: http://www.get-growing.org.uk/

Environment Wales
 Environment Wales is the name of a programme set up by the Welsh Government, rather than an organisation.

Environment Wales is a partnership in the voluntary sector, funded by the Welsh Government to contribute to sustainable development by supporting and encouraging voluntary action to protect and improve the environment.
Set up in 1992, Environment Wales has grown year on year with the original partnership expanding from 8 to 9 organisations. WCVA is the initiative's Administrative Partner. It is responsible for providing the administrative and financial framework for Environment Wales and for hosting the Administrative Team.
There are also 8 Operational Partners, which employ the Development Officer Team. These are TCV, Cylch, Eco Centre Wales, Groundwork Wales, Keep Wales Tidy, The National Trust, Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales and the Wildlife Trusts Wales.
The Development Officer Team works to provide community and voluntary groups with advice and support. Each project supported by Environment Wales is allocated a dedicated Development Officer who remains a constant point of contact.
Environment Wales operates five grant streams to support voluntary organisations and community groups undertaking practical projects that promote one or more of the following objectives:
  • to achieve sustainable improvements to the Welsh environment through practical projects;
  • to increase understanding of sustainable development and the environment through information, education and advisory services;
  • to help create new environmental initiatives which also allow communities and voluntary organisations to contribute to their social and economic needs; 
  • to support and train staff and volunteers engaged in these activities.
To find out more visit http://www.environment-wales.org/
Group discussion sessions
The gathering included group discussions and brain storming of different issues relating to supporting growing groups. These topics were discussed:
·         What works well in supporting groups?

·         What hasn’t worked?

·         How can we support groups better?

·         What are the challenges that groups face?

·         What are the challenges that we face when supporting groups?

·         Are there solutions or resources out there?

The notes for all these discussions are being written up by Abby Charles of the FCFCG and will be distributed to participants once complete. If you would like a copy, please contact Abby Charles abigail@farmgarden.org.uk 
What will 2020 look like? How can we work more closely together?
Katie Jones, FCFCG, summarised some of the points from discussions, then asked what organisations would like to see in the future.  These things were mentioned: shared electronic resource library; online forum; Facebook group; further “Growing the Movement” gatherings. 
There was also a strong desire to see food quality being considered over price, more focus on food and cooking in schools, more provision of allotments by councils and a better understanding of horticulture as a career.
These notes are also being written up and distributed.

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