Get-Growing! Community garden hub launched in Newtown

Official lanuch of the Get-Growing, Pen Dinas Community Garden. The project is a collaboration between Cwm Harry, Coleg Powys and the local community

Community gardens such as the one just launched in Newtown this week could provide at least a partial antidote to the economic blues of the wider World.

A key idea of our times is that of resilience, the ability to withstand external stresses and strains. The term really comes from ecology, as in the resilience of ecosystems, but it can be a useful term to understand the potentials of communities and local economies.

Food and energy costs are rising, the wider economic situation is looking increasingly unpromising and all this uncertainty can be especially worrying when looking at the longer term prospects of the up and coming generation. The Get-Growing philosophy is that we can at least create a bottom-up, community-led response which, although not able to resolve these issues can at the very least offer a degree of resilience by building a stronger more localised food supply and as a result a more interconnected local community around it.

A real and tangible sense of community stems from having things in common and one of our core aims is to support the Newtown community to turn its underused spaces and neglected corners into productive and useful spaces from which everyone can potentially benefit from and can interact with.

Project volunteers potting up plants from cuttings for sale

Ten tons of compost:
The Cwm Harry legacy

When the Cwm Harry food waste recycling plant/ compost factory on the Vastre estate shut down, as the Cwm Harry community garden we became the inheritors of its legacy. That being the final batch of high grade compost produced from Newtown’s own food waste and hedge trimmings, all ten tons of it!

Cwm Harry only ever had the intention of creating a community interest company that could spark positive change locally and it achieved that by intervening in the waste stream and learning how to pull out potentially valuable materials that could be turned back into useful and valuable resources. Food waste into nutrient rich compost, pure organic energy, the new black gold!

Now it is our challenge to turn that compost into force for community development, to use it to turn unproductive dead urban spaces into productive areas that we can all learn from and benefit from. By working closely with schools, community and other groups to unleash that potential energy then there is the ability to create local jobs and local revenue streams from managing, processing and retailing the resulting produce.

Local produce. Jams, chutnies, pickles and preserves.. seasonal surplus conserved and turned into a quality long lasting product

Framed in an acedemic innovation/ job creation/ personal development/ work experience context then this is a process that can generate produce as a bi product of education, of community and personal development objectives.

Big ideas, big ideals but it all starts with planting a tree, creating a possibility whilst inviting the community to take part in shaping it to meet the needs and opportunities of the locality. Lets Get-Growing!

  • Regular volunteer days every Wednesday
  • Open days and events
  • Courses and training sessions.
  • Community outreach

Three generations come together to share knowledge, enthusiasm and ideas at Get-Growing, Coleg Powys, Newtown,


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About admin

I lead on the Cwm Harry Skills and training enterprise, am a qualified teacher and permaculture design tutor and garden designer and project consultant. I write several blogs and am an avid networker and communicator on the subjects of sustainability, transition and co-operatives. I have written an occasional column for Channel4/green and have worked for Channel 4 on their 'Dumped' seriesworked as well as for BBC Wales as a green advisor on their Changing Lives- Going Green series, Nov-Dec 2009. I have been working in sustainable development, on project management and development, teaching, growing and small business development all my life really. I also grew up living and working on farms and have a broad experience working in Britain and Canada and Zimbabwe on sustainable agriculture, grass roots permaculture projects, micro business development and housing and worker co-ops. I have been based in Wales since 1994 and currently live in the Welsh borders.