Thursday, 6 November 2008

Letter to the Executive Board

I have been asked by the Plaid Cymru Carmarthenshire County Councillors to write to you on an increasingly pressing matter. The current economic crisis looks as though it will get worse before it gets better. World food prices are rising. There is concern about food miles. People wish to eat healthier food and many would like the opportunity to grow their own.

We strongly support the provision of allotments and other means to release land to allow many more Carmarthenshire residents to grow their own food. There is increasing interest and demand. Provision of traditional allotments and other plots should be encouraged, from new allotments to temporary land use agreements and garden share agreements. We are fortunate in Carmarthenshire that we are not short of fertile land . We feel that the County should take the lead in facilitating this self -sufficiency demand by giving advice and encouragement.

All aspects, from the provision of suitable land for permanent allotments, the legal advice for public and private landlords to lease land under short-term contact, liaison with allotment societies and gardening associations , garden -share arrangements where unused garden space can be lent or leased to others, and education for all in the cultivation of food crops suitable to the Carmarthenshire climate. Advice on small scale livestock husbandry may also be appropriate.

We affirm that the growing of food by individual citizens is already an important and healthy pastime for many. However, few have sufficient plots to grow enough vegetables to meet a significant amount of their families’ needs. Others need education on how to grow food and many need encouragement and help to find suitable land management schemes to address the demand.

May I request that yourself and the Executive Board consider this issue and the many aspects in which we can help this movement. We can not only assist in identifying the current scale of demand but and provide land where appropriate but also, by facilitating the short term use of private and public land , a developers’ land bank, an area we own and might someday develop , to a neglected garden on a council estate or a resident who wishes to lease part of their garden to help others grow food, all of these sources should be considered.

Cllr Siân Caiach

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