Incredible Edible Llandrindod
You could have heard a pin drop . . . they sat with their eyes closed, relaxed their minds and bodies, and listened to the stillness of the Rock Park. No, not a Zen retreat, but the amazing prelude to a torrent of inspiration at the launch on Sunday, 8th November, of the Incredible Edible Llandrindod think-tank.
Sixteen people attended the free half-day intensive workshop at Trosnant, to consider what the future might hold for Llandrindod in a world where climate change and peak oil will affect food security unless
we start to plan and effect change now. The harsh realities and government projections were faced squarely after a shared lunch. Everyone thought about foods they like to eat, and the food miles involved in what they had prepared for the group lunch. It made for a worrying debate.
That’s where the stillness came in. Using a process called ‘Visioning’ which has been much used in the Transition movement, the group went through a guided relaxation to calm the mind and allow for some right brain thinking to happen. This is a well-tested technique for brainstorming and fostering lateral thinking on tricky issues: the method has been extensively employed in management development to improve creativity.
When the group returned to consciousness there was a flurry of activity while all ideas of ways to respond to the challenges were written on cards. Everyone then cooperated to sort the ideas into three broad categories.
The result? For an hour or more, the participants took part in a ‘World Café’ session, moving round the three ‘topic’ tables concerned with food production, food marketing and food consumption. A facilitator on each table ensured the distilled views of each group were heard and captured on the paper tablecloths.
Discussion was dynamic and ideas were so plentiful that it was hard at times to move people on to the next table. At the end, the facilitators gave an overview of the discussions on their tables and cited the examples of projects which had captured the imagination of the three groups to the greatest extent. These were transferred to a flip chart.
Among the many ideas from the day were schemes like a garden share matching service; a ‘community hub’ which would integrate café, exhibition and learning spaces with a place where people could market garden surplus was very attractive. The need to acquire more allotment space was clear, and there were plenty of ideas about how to get more people growing their own food, including building a community tool resource, outreach to schools, and holding local events to celebrate home produced, home cooked food, shared in micro communities - like the streets where people live.
Several people want to develop a ‘Powys Diet’, based on the ethos of the famous Fife Diet in Scotland, where residents undertake to eat as locally as possible for a period of time. There was recognition that many of the suggestions relied on knowing who and what is out there that could be useful, so the proposal for a Green Directory was very popular.
More ‘guerilla gardening’ of the type begun in the Arcade in Llandrindod was thought to be a way of showcasing what can be done with edible landscapes, and, as so many local people had now been on Introduction to Permaculture courses in the town, that a full Permaculture Design Course should be made available, spread over a period of months, in the coming year. There was enthusiasm for community seed sharing, and for making contact with local farmers for a Community Supported Agriculture scheme, which would ensure a market for produce grown on farms in the district.
Llandrindod Transition Town Food Group now has a lot of new members as a result of this very successful day, and they also have a wealth of sound ideas for attainable projects for the town as a whole, for small groups, and for individuals to tackle in order to improve food security, both in the short, medium and long term. At the next meeting, members of the Food Group will discuss in detail which projects to take forward as a priority, and develop a timeline and action plan for each one using the next stage of the Visioning process. Everyone agreed it had been a powerful and productive event, and that the process enabled an astonishing amount of creative thinking.
‘Visioning’ process facilitated by Mid Wales Permaculture Network:
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