Field Good Crowd Farming on the Gower Peninsula, Wales

by Gower Power Co-op CIC
Match Funding £5,200

About the project

Goals

Tipping Point £3,500
MATCH FUNDING!!!! £5,200
The belt and braces £12,000
£12,400
tipping point
£30.000
20%
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
12hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?

In summary: the intensification of agriculture which occurred throughout the 20th century might well have had short-term benefits of feeding lots of people relatively cheaply and enabling whole populations of villages, towns and cities to focus on producing other “stuff” instead of their own food…

But it has come at a high price to local and global ecology through overuse of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, the mismanagement of land previously abundant in biodiversity, and increased pollution using machinery and in transportation of fruit and vegetables from one side of the planet to another.

Less commonly understood is the effect that this has had on small-scale land-based livelihoods and rural communities, where supermarkets and wholesalers have exerted pressure on suppliers driving prices to the bottom. Thousands of previously viable mixed farming small-holdings rich in biodiversity have steadily been replaced with giant monocultures dependent on poisons to produce crops of declining quality which are themselves have become biodiversity deserts.

Percentages of income to the “Real Economy” (i.e. the money that actually goes to the producers) have declined drastically in favour of supporting people who make money out of the transport, the storage and preservation processes, marketing and retailing of the bulk of the homogenous produce that we find on the shelves of our supermarkets… before significant proportions of it are then thrown in the bin!

In essence, the industrialization of agriculture has externalized many of its costs and society has been left to pay the price… And it isn’t just largely responsible for the continued decline of our eco-systems, it is totally destroying rural communities along the way too.

Can you give us some statistics on this problem?

•    Some 45% of all food consumed in the UK is imported from overseas. Much of it is only made possible due to the low wages and poor working conditions of workers in those countries. Supermarkets account for 97% of UK grocery sales, squeezing producers and pushing smaller local retailers out of business with aggressive pricing.

•    In the UK the average age of farmers is almost 58 and there are few new entrants.

•    In the UK our soil is eroding at a rate of more than 2 million tonnes a year, having been steadily degraded by 200 years of intensive farming and industrial pollution. It’s estimated that half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.

•    The present food system is responsible for some 30% of world greenhouse gas emissions, with significant impacts from the use of fossil-fuel derived pesticides and fertilisers, as well as transportation and packaging.

What is your solution?

Our solution is to create a model for engaging the Gower community in its local food economy.

Through providing affordable high quality organic and local produce, and by enabling people to participate in growing vegetables and fruit, and caring for animals and the natural environment, people develop healthier relationships with those resources and can learn how to look after them.

Through enabling local investment into schemes community members start sharing the risks of farming with the people who provide their food. We can learn to understand and appreciate the challenges and opportunities presented by small-scale ecologically sensitive agriculture, and also gain better awareness of the ecological and social consequences of most forms of industrialized farming.

Our solution is to create local resilience, and to create food systems that work with the natural processes as opposed to exploit them.  

It is a model we intend to replicate across the county and is part of a growing movement of agro-ecology projects that are happening all across the UK and beyond.

Think global, act local, so the old adage goes…

How will you deliver this?

Over the next year we will double the size of Cae Tan CSA, and provide weekly vegetables for up to 100 households throughout the year.

Cae Tan will be working with hundreds of volunteers and provide training and inspiration to many more people who visit the farm for workshops. Cae Tan will engage more schools in its Grow Your Own Pizza project, and also work with those schools to set up food co-ops.

As our orchard matures as well as sharing fruit within the community and reviving traditional rituals like Wassailing in partnership with the Gower Heritage Centre, we will juice, pickle and preserve and show community members and volunteers how to do this for themselves.

We will trial rearing new livestock at our farm, and will identify new land to expand our sheep share and continue to revive traditional crafts with the wool such as spinning, dyeing and felting. We will also develop a co-operative of farmers, who graze their animals on the common, and link those and other local producers directly to our expanding membership.

Biodiversity management will also always be one of our primary concerns, so we will continue to manage the land, planting species for the benefit of pollinators, and laying hedges traditionally to improve interconnectivity of the surrounding conservation areas. 

We will also continue to engage the wider community through a variety of media to ensure that our messages about the importance of supporting land-based livelihoods are communicated to a national audience of consumers, policy makers, movers and shakers and everyone else in between.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Sign up to our mailing list, follow us on Facebook and Twitter – like and share our posts and news, make any tiny effort to help our campaign reach a wider audience.
  • 5 minutes
    Have a good think about which family and friends would be interested in what we are up to. Send them a message letting them know about our work and this campaign.
  • 15 minutes
    Send us a message telling us why you like what we are doing, and put us in touch with any organisations you know of that might like to collaborate with us.
  • 30 minutes
    Write letters to your MP and local councilors asking them what they are doing to support ecologically sensitive land-based livelihoods. Also please join the CSA Network UK
  • A few hours
    Come and get your hands dirty on the farm for the morning or afternoon.
  • Regular time commitment
    We have volunteers working on the land most days of the week… so please pencil in a time to join in on a regular basis.

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About the organisation

Geographical coverage

Within local community (including local council)

How do we deliver this?

Gower Power Co-op CIC facilitates the creation of projects and businesses that enable local people to develop ownership of natural resources. These projects include community supported agriculture schemes, community energy co-ops, community land trusts, biodiversity initiatives and complementary currency development.

Awards And Recognitions

Ignite Big Energy Idea winner (2014); Unltd - Hay on Wye Future Dragons winner (2014); Green Energy Awards finalist (2015)