Their therapeutic value to health and well-being is well-recognised; they can improve the appearance (and market value) of housing estates or an organisation's premises; they provide space for recreation, access to fresh affordable produce, a way-in to teaching about cooking and nutrition; and they can help tackle climate change by supporting a more localised and sustainable food chain.
For those looking to get started, The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens provides a comprehensive introduction to setting up, developing and sustaining a community-managed farm, garden or other growing space. It provides easy to read advice on the issues you are likely to face; general information on the key areas and routes to more specific and specialist advice. The Community Growing Resource Pack also includes a series of short films to accompany each of the steps it covers, together with stories and top tips from established projects. Other resources cover areas such as health and safety and engaging volunteers, schools and families.
The FCFCG also manages the Community Land Advisory Service in Wales (CLAS Cymru), which aims to help community growing groups, landowners - plus others involved in land access - to work together to make more land available for community growing.
Incredible Edible Wales projects have used containers and raised beds in public spaces including railway stations, leisure centres and supermarket car parks.
FCFGG also runs the Growing Together project, which is designed to help community growing projects become more financially sustainable. Growing Together is a new partnership initiative of community and environmental sector organisations that will unlock income, land and skills for community growing groups to them become financially self-sustaining.
Growing Together has been awarded £800,000 by the Big Lottery Fund, which will enable it to hothouse fresh, innovative ways for local community growing groups to generate their own income. Over the next two years, we will promote the widespread uptake of innovative community enterprise; help people develop business and technical skills and offer advice and training on alternative funding approaches, such as community shares and digital income generation (DIG). The aim is to offer tailored support to provide community growing initiatives with the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to move from reliance on grants to a dynamic and balanced income model.
The Open Spaces Society was founded in 1865 (originally the Commons Preservation Society), making it Britain's oldest national conservation body. Over the last century the society has preserved commons for the enjoyment of the public. It has also been active in protecting the historical and vital rights-of-way network through England and Wales.
Principal work involves helping and guiding members on how best to protect local common land, town and village greens, open spaces and public paths. The society advises the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and National Assembly for Wales on applications for works on common land, and is notified by local authorities whenever there is a proposal to alter the route of a public right of way. The society also campaigns for changes in legislation to protect paths and spaces.
New Welsh Government guidance covers:
Apply for an allotment You should contact your local authority and/or your community council if you are interested in leasing a plot, or finding out about plots in your area.
The National Allotment Society can provide support, guidance and advice to those with an interest in allotment gardening.
The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens supports and advises both existing and emerging community growing projects.
The Community Land Advisory Service can provide advice to community growing projects and landowners on leasing and buying land.
Here are many other inspiring community growing projects which offer training, events and volunteer opportunities. Here are some from different parts of Wales: