Sunday, 21 October 2012

Creating a Community Garden 4

In a series of posts (links below) I am following the creation of a Community Growing Area in Dinas Powys, on an abandoned play area between Sir Ivor Place and Nightingale Place.

This project was initiated by Elizabeth Millard (Chairperson of the Dinas Powys Residents Group) and Councillor Keith Hatton. The project is supported by Creative Rural Communities (Vale of Glamorgan Council), with Rob McGhee being the Rural Regeneration Officer involved. More specifically, the Dinas Powys Community Growing Area falls within the Community Foodie initiative, which aims to identify, develop and support community food growing activities.

Rob (pictured) came to Dinas Powys on Saturday (20 Oct) to give an update on progress. The meeting, in Youldon House, was attended by over 30 people. Keith outlined the history of the project and introduced Rob, who summarized achievements to date (see previous posts) that include identification of the site, fund-raising, community engagement, and an initial plan for the site that takes into account all skill levels and includes raised beds for those with restricted mobility. He also talked about successful community growing projects in other parts of Wales.

Funding is in place and a contractor (Gerald Davies) is due to start clearing the site later this month. Security fencing will be erected, top-soil put down, and water pipes extended into the site. A communal shed will be erected near the electrical sub-station.

A tour of the site was followed by a discussion back at Youldon House, in which everyone stuck post-it notes with ideas on the proposed plan (pictured below). Suggestions included a brick BBQ, the use of wood from the felled trees to make benches, water butts, communal compost, solar lighting, increasing the proportion of raised beds, establishing links with schools and the recently-established Food Bank in Dinas Powys, a play area for young children, and a skills database.

The meeting was used to identify those who want to serve on a Growing Group, which will help to drive the project forward. Further meet-ups, including a clearance day, will be held on-site in the coming months. I’ll keep you posted.

This well-attended meeting was a significant step forward in raising awareness and channelling enthusiasm for the project. Elizabeth’s vision of turning this ugly derelict area into an attractive community gathering and food-growing area, where she can come to sit in the sun and read a book, became a step closer to reality.

As a footnote, an upcoming date for your diary: Paul Mobbs (author of ‘Energy Beyond Oil’) will be speaking in Lee Hall Dinas Powys on Thursday 22 Nov (7pm). There will be a small entrance fee to cover costs. Greater community self-reliance, in which growing areas play a significant part, is a key theme of the Transition Town Movement that is planning for the post-oil future. Linda Ware, the organizer of this talk, has initiated another community growing project in the village - the Dinas Powys Orchard Project.

Previous posts on Dinas Powys Community Garden:

Aug 2012
Feb 2012

Jan 2012



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