Future Generations Growers Conference 2016 - Report

Event Report:

Creating a sustainable food system for Wales, that will help feed the population through a future of uncertain climate and political change, was the focus of a unique event in the Vale of Glamorgan in early July with farmers, community growers and policy makers all coming together to discuss the issue. 

With increasing interest in local food, community growing and food security, the event was an opportunity to discuss current initiatives both from Welsh Government and the community growing sector, and to help address the gap between supply and demand, as well as consumers and producers.

There was also debate on the future of community based and small scale agriculture following the decision to quit the EU. With the future of the Welsh food supply likely to be impacted by Brexit, the conference debate was the starting point for a vision of how local and community growing can strengthen food production and the supply of food in Wales.

A wide range of delegates attended, including community growers and small scale food producers, as well as policy makers, academics and organisations working to support and increase sustainable food production.

The keynote speaker was David Morris, Deputy Head of the Food Division at the Welsh Government and there were sessions on the fruit and veg needs of Wales, building sustainable food systems, community supported agriculture and the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Delegates also got the chance to attend workshops addressing issues facing community food growing such as land, planning and income generation. There were talks and workshops from successful community growing projects and horticulture businesses, as well as tours and practical workshops on the Riverside Market Garden, based at the venue.

The event, at the Coed Hills Rural Art Space near Cowbridge in the Vale of Glamorgan, was organised by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and the Community Land Advisory Service in Wales (CLAS Cymru), funded by the Big Lottery Fund Wales.

CLAS Cymru Coordinator Lucie Taylor said: “We know how much passion there is in Wales about food production, sustainability, food miles, the environment, health and well-being and the many other issues associated with where our food comes from.  We wanted this event to be an opportunity for everyone, whether they are a small scale farmer or a community allotment holder to gather and talk about the future of food production in Wales.”

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© Community Land Advisory Service 2017