Bwyd Bendigedig Incredible Edible Llandrindod

 

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Email us: food@transitionllandrindod.org.uk

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Incredible Edible Llandrindod came out of a community event held at The Commodore in October 2019 called ‘Facing the Future'. One aspect of the event was Food Security in the light of Climate Change and Post Peak Oil. Participants were invited to form a group to discuss and take the subject forward and to also form/join a Llandrindod seed library. The uptake was very positive with over twenty people in the two groups. 
 
The food security group met to discuss ways forward such as Community Supported Agriculture, which aims to engage and support farmers to transition to horticulture and agroecology. Engaging with the farming community is still one of our agreed aims. The group also felt it was really important to be visible in and around the town with vegetables, herbs and fruits grown in appropriate places and free to the public. Another idea was ‘Garden Share’ where the group works with householders to develop food production and bio diversity in their gardens. Part of the produce is donated to the Food Hub where it can be for sale, or free to those on low incomes. Incredible Edible Llandrindod joined The Wholesome Food Association in order to guarantee environmental standards in their food production and urges all IE members growing food for the community to adhere to the standards. See http://www.wholesome-food.org/ for details of these. 
 

We are now eight months on from the initial event, so where are we and how are we doing?

Incredible Edible Llandrindod (IE) has had talks with Powys County Council about using spare council land in the town for producing food. The council has been very supportive and given permission for the group to develop a disused tennis court in the middle of the town. If successful they will donate further sites for IE to use. A successful bid to Awards for All has given IE £6,400 to spend on developing the site by building a series of raised beds for vegetable and fruit production. This should have been started in May but the pandemic has meant these plans are on hold. Because the main growing season is spring and early summer the ‘core’ group has decided to delay developing the site until Spring 2021. 
 
IE now has a ‘town polytunnel’ donated by a member of the core group. The Town Council very generously funded the building of a large raised bed plus top soil, which is the main growing area in the tunnel. The tunnel has been producing plants to share since early spring and now has a fine crop of salads, tomatoes, courgettes and beans. Surplus produce is now being donated to the Llandrindod Food Bank as a simple way of supporting the local community.
 
The virus has created a massive surge in interest in gardening and food production country wide. Here in Llandrindod we have 199 keen gardeners in our Facebook group. Gardening tips, plant swapping and seed exchanging has all been going on and there is a real buzz. So while IE has not had a hugely visible public face as yet, it is witnessing a massive groundswell of support.
 
England has eased the lock down and Wales may well follow soon. We have put together some ideas for ‘post virus’ events, which we would like to share with you.
 
1. Dave Burridge from the walled garden, Doldowlod, is offering courses for IE members. The first one day course will be on ‘Protective Cropping’, including how to protect from weather and predators. The course will be £10 for the day with £5 going to IE. This will go towards the seeds we will need for next year. We are looking to run the course in August/September, date to be confirmed. If the lock down is still in place then distancing is very easy and course numbers will be limited to 15. If lock down is lifted then the numbers can go to 30. Please let us know if you are interested as it will be a first come first served arrangement.
 
2. Play Radnor has asked IE if we would be willing and able to develop a one day event, during the summer holidays, which is free for families on low incomes. The event venue needs to be in and around the Llandrindod and Howey area, so ideas welcomed. We have the offer of a willow weaving workshop so far.
 
3. Trefonnen School contacted us a few weeks ago about running a similar school holiday event at the School. Unfortunately they have decided to cancel because of the lock down. However, when the school reopens they would like IE to run an after school gardening club for the pupils which will culminate in them growing food in the school grounds. We have already met with a member of staff to discuss practical details.
 
4. Compost has been tricky to get hold of and quite a lot of it still contains peat. We are discussing setting up a small, ethical compost making scheme using bracken and sheeps wool, something like that made by Dalefoot Composts. It lends itself well to Wales where we do have a lot of bracken and an awful lot of sheep. The compost will be available to IE members. Anyone interested in getting involved in the scheme or helping with funding bids to get it started please get in touch.
 
5. On the subject of sheep. One of IE’s missions is to engage with the farming community to encourage, help and support them into transitioning into horticulture. Growing our own food as individuals is vital and very beneficial in many ways other than just producing food. However, if we are to be sustainable in food production we need to get farmers on board. This needs to be taken forward as a separate strand of IE so again, anyone interested in this please get in touch.
 
6. We have an established seed library, which growers can avail themselves of. The seeds are free but, ideally, the grower will save some seed at the end of the season to give back to the library. However, seed saving is a skill to be learnt and while some plants are very easy to save seed from, others can be problematic. For the moment supporting people in food production by making seed available is a priority. Help with how to save seed is available and group sessions will be organised as soon as lock down is lifted.
 
If you are interested in any of the above subjects or events, or are interested in joining the IE core group please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
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