Greenmeadow Community Farm becomes a test bed for exciting new Crop Cycle project

Posted on: Wednesday 27 January 2021

Greenmeadow Community Farm have joined three other sites across Wales to take part in a new venture led by Social Farms & Gardens and supported by Welsh Government’s Horticulture Cluster group and NutriWales CEA Special Interest Group. 

Crop Cycle, is a project funded by the Welsh Government through the Foundational Economy Challenge Fund and has been designed to supply and install Controlled Environment Agriculture systems for the demonstration of community benefits across four sites in Wales.

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is a process that combines plant science, engineering and technology to optimise plant growing, plant quality and production efficiency to provide a truly sustainable system of food growing.

The growing equipment will be supplied by Digital Farming who are based in Pencoed and the indoor farm will be on site this March.   

The farm will house a new facility which will grow vegetables and salad items using hydroponics (the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil) and will bring about many exciting educational benefits. 

Greenmeadow Community Farm is one of only two ‘city farms’ in Wales, and one which connects people to food and farming in a very public way.

The installation of a new, dedicated growing container on the farm as well as a display unit in the café area will provide several opportunities to showcase this exciting new way of growing nutritious food. 

Customers will be able to try the locally grown produce in the cafe, buy some from the farm shop and also find out more about farming of the future.

There is also the potential to supply local care homes and other institutions to help support healthy diets.

The project provides a test bed for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) in the community setting – the very heart of the Foundational Economy, and it offers real growth potential at a scale that is impactful, replicable and delivers wider benefits for the local community and wider region.

Senior Farm Manager, Sally Partridge who is delighted to welcome the project at the farm, said: “This exciting opportunity is a fabulous boost for us, everyone in the local area and our visitors.   The project will introduce food growing right into the heart of Torfaen and sits perfectly with our ethos of educating visitors about where our food comes from in an impressive and brand new way. 

We are really looking forward to seeing the project in action and the engagement and enjoyment of our visitors.  The potential of this project is very exciting for the future of food production.”

The overall project allows for multiple and differing CEA systems to be tailored to fit different community settings, allowing them to be investigated and assessed in a co-ordinated and joined up way across the pilot sites.

This approach is unique, allowing the testing of new socially focused business models, the engagement of the local communities, businesses and local public sector organisations with CEA and the development of new technical solutions.

Activities will test new community-based engagement models looking at social well-being, local entrepreneurship and environmental impact.

The farm already welcomes thousands of visitors through its gates and connects locally through a number of schools and college partnerships – making it an ideal ‘showcase’ location for this pilot.

Other sites in Wales taking part in the pilot include Treherbert, Newtown and Wrexham.

Last Modified: 27/01/2021 Back to top