We are feeling excited, inspired & rejuvenated after spending a day with 30 food growers, community gardeners, farmers, smallholders & activists here on the farm, as part of Social Farms & Gardens Wales‘ ‘Our Future Matters’ event.
Through talks, a farm tour, practical workshops and networking, it was a great opportunity to share ideas, experience and our projects, hear from experts in the field, to talk about local solutions to some of the major challenges of our time, and learn a few new ways to use land and grow food with nature and in community.
Bronhaul Farm – Past, Present & Future
We all squeezed into the farmhouse on a windy, grey September day for an introduction to Bronhaul, past, present and future. Angie & Colin shared the story of Bronhaul, how we came to be here as a family, how they slowly built this peaceful, abundant, biodiverse haven in the Carmarthenshire countryside and pathways to sustainability we’ve been implementing over the years. They then handed over to me, and I talked about how I am trying to harness that spirit of regeneration, community and abundance to launch Glasbren (‘sapling’ in Welsh), a community food growing project promoting nature connection, food sovereignty and community…
A Tour of the Farm
Wellies on, we all marched out onto the farm, for a tour of the market garden, the holiday cottages, the animals, the woodlands and tree plantations, talking about how we produce our own heat, energy, food and fuel, using sustainable, regenerative practices, the techniques we’ve implemented, how we’ve diversified the farm and how we prioritise nature, biodiversity, balance and harmony in all that we do. The group was so alive with great questions, insights and ideas, they were a joy to show around!
An Uncertain Future
After the tour, we heard from Natalie at Natural Resources Wales, and about the work they are doing to try and prepare for the worst of future climate fluctuations, including flood defences, drought mitigation and tree planting, as well as how they expect those fluctuations to affect us and other species in the future. A big thanks to Natalie for providing the research that underpins the need to build local solutions, care for our local environment and promote local resilience in advance of an uncertain future…
And We Feasted….
We’d worked up quite an appetite by lunchtime, and shared a beautiful lunch of homemade and homegrown squash soup, squash tarts and beetroot rolls made fresh by K’armen Kafe, in Carmarthen, using fresh veg from the land here.
Getting Our Hands Dirty…..
After a lot of talking and brain food in the morning, and reenergised by a delicious lunch, we headed out to get stuck in on the land – sheet mulching the garden beds with manure and woodchip, turning hot compost, building facines from coppiced willow to lay over wet pathways and upcycling pallets into veg boxes for our members next season! We exchanged alot of ideas, I learnt alot from the group and we got LOADS done! Thankyou everyone!
The event was organised by Social Farms & Gardens Wales, who support and advise existing and emerging community growing projects, including community farms, gardens and orchards, allotments, community supported agriculture schemes and community-managed market gardens, as well as helping to share knowledge and skills. We’ve benefited hugely from their advice, events, mentorship and networking opportunities over the past year, and were really glad to be able to host one of their sustainability days here at Bronhaul Farm.
As well as Lisa & Tony from Social Farms and Gardens, we were joined by Lucie, from the Community Land Advisory Service, which aims to help community growing groups and landowners to work together to make more land available for community growing.
We were also lucky enough to have Sarah & Andy from Landlore, a Bath-based filmmaking company with us for the day working on a film project for Glasbren. A big thanks to them for the beautiful stills of the day. Look out for the film, coming soon!
We’d like to say a big thankyou to Lisa, Tony, Gary, Lucie and Natalie and everyone who made the day such a success. Thanks to Ange & Rose for some delicious food throughout the day, and to the whole Bronhaul team for helping make the day run smoothly. And thankyou finally to all of you who came. You brought such energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and experience to the day, and certainly inspired us to keep doing what we’re doing!
Want to know more about our efforts towards sustainability, diversification and regeneration? Click here! Want to get involved with Glasbren? Drop me a message on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to drop us a comment below with any questions, too!