North East Wales

FlintShare's Cilcain families grow a tonne of vegetables

Planting garlic
Image caption Crops grown include potatoes, beans, carrots, tomatoes, garlic and fruit

A community garden project has been hailed a success growing one tonne of food for families in Flintshire in its first year.

Volunteers at social enterprise group FlintShare have turned overgrown and boggy land into four communal plots to produce fruit and vegetables for more than 20 families.

The first garden in Cilcain, near Mold, has been celebrating its anniversary.

Other land share sites have been set up in Ffynnongroyw, Northop and Hawarden.

"I have been staggered by the fantastic progress we have made in just a year," said Nikki Giles, founding member of the group which is run by volunteers.

Cilcain villagers cleared a bracken-covered three acre field to plant their own crops, including potatoes, greens, beans, carrots, tomatoes and fruit.

"All the members of the group have been very happy with the produce, particularly the variety and beautifully fresh veg," she said.

Improving land

To celebrate their first anniversary they organised an Indian meal using their own produce.

Image caption One site is situated in an orchard next to the Hawarden Farm Shop

The members have been given permission to use land by local landowners in a scheme similar to others known as community supported agriculture (CSA) projects which have been set up elsewhere around the UK.

In November, Newtown community grower Cwm Harry Land Trust was awarded £229,000 in lottery money to set up new sites in Powys around Montgomery, Welshpool and Llanidloes.

This year, the FlintShare project is rearing its own lambs.

The Ffynnongroyw site occupies three quarters of an acre (0.3 hectares) behind the village church.

The land is said to be boggy but volunteers have made the site productive and ready for further cultivation.

The Hawarden site is situated in an orchard next to the Hawarden Farm Shop.

And the group has become a "friend" of an organic holding connected to Glyndwr University at Northop.

The Cilcain group is hosting a meeting open to all members of the garden projects on Saturday.

And an open meeting is being held at Mold Town Hall on 3 March from 14:00-15:30 GMT for people to find out more.

Image caption The Cilcain site is the biggest at three acres

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