Image Source: Cae Tan http://www.caetancsa.org/en/
Resilient Green Spaces has sprung into its second year where workstream 6 has focused on building Horticultural Future Farming Skills. Year one saw the launch of a Wales Future Farmer Training Programme for new entrant growers in April 2021. Facilitated by Lantra Wales and the Land Workers Alliance, the programme resulted in triumphs all round. Supplemented on-farm learning enabled trainees to put what they were being taught into practice. The programme is based very heavily on peer-to-peer learning with training being provided by host farms and other knowledgeable people in the industry. The programme enables personal and professional development.
Trainees for 2022 have been recruited and host farms have been selected from all over Wales. They currently hold trainee positions with the following sites: Ash and Elm Horticulture, Blas Gwent, Cae Tân CSA, Growing for Change, Nantclyd, Tyddyn Teg.
The programme is taking a blended learning approach, providing a great range of training topics including an introduction to agroecological growing, running a year-round CSA (including community engagement, crop storage), soil science, composting, propagation and irrigation, Pest and Disease, rotations, Business planning and routes to market, machinery use and co-op business models. There is also an opportunity to obtain regulatory training Certificates and hosts are encouraged to partake in a ‘Train the Trainer’ (leadership) course.
Cardiff University are another key partner in this project as they creatively engage with young people to counter negative perceptions of careers in horticulture farming. This work is responding to recent work by the university that identified long-term problems attracting people to food production careers.
Resilient Green Spaces is a £1.27m partnership project being led by Social Farms & Gardens to pilot alternative re-localised food systems using communities and their green spaces as the driving force for change across Wales until June 2023.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
The project responds to the climate and nature emergency by promoting production and supply of locally sourced food in Wales in the hope that this will help to contribute towards decarbonisation both regionally and nationally.