Over the course of 2019 Llanfyllin BRACE initiative held a series of regular bi-weekly meetings along the theme of community responses to climate change and ecological emergency. These meetings brought together a range of interested people and an overlapping of us ordinary folk trying to figure out what to do with the Llanfyllin town council, with special interest groups like Severn Rivers Trust, Powys CC roads and verges, with school governors, the church, and farmers.
One of the outputs of this was a connection between the Llanfyllin town council, the public hall committee, where the town council meet, and this eclectic group of citizens wanting to channel their frustration and energy into something positive and tangible. An important note in the Transition Handbook is don’t just have meetings but make sure to prioritise creating observable, visible outcomes and changes. Having such a coalition was the genesis of this community garden project.
Previously as a community we have been able to establish Cae Bodfach Heritage Orchard in the field behind our local supermarket, so with this as a track record and new friends and connections this new space became available, an odd, steeply sloping truncated piece of land behind the public institute. It had become to be seen as a bit of a liability, not really used or productive and costing limit budget for strimming and hedge trimming. All it really takes is a bit of vision and there is always a potential for a community group to develop in a way that meets community needs.
We were exactly at that point of project genesis when the opportunity to apply to the NGS scheme came along, and we hurriedly fired off an application. Things were delayed as the national quarantine happened, so we took the plunge and ordered a few items in advance so we could be ready to hit the ground running as the new season unfolded. We were all ready with a worked out plan to get the key elements such as the raised beds in place, and make rapid progress as the season unfolded and we finally heard the grant application had been successful.
Since those early days when a small group of people was driving this project forward it has quickly grown to achieve a momentum and shape of its own. In a few short months this has come together with what is really a small injection of capital investment, but precisely enough to set something in motion that can create its own energy to become self sustaining.
We are enormously grateful to the Llanfyllin Institute and Town Council and of course the National Garden Schemes for supporting this venture and helping us get started. Next to arrive is our tool shed and that will allow us to purchase tools and other things like propagators with the remaining funds from NGS.
The biggest thanks of course to every single person who has volunteered at the garden over previous months. Tuesday mornings are the key volunteer slot and anyone is welcome.