The Tamar Valley’s Market Garden industry is set to be revitalised thanks to a new project launched today by the Tamara Landscape Partnership Scheme and Tamar Grow Local, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The Promoting our Produce project aims to rejuvenate the industry by supporting existing and new market gardening enterprises and community groups in a number of ways. This includes the creation of new community allotments; specialised training and demonstration sites; a network of local food ambassadors, and a new ‘brand’ to market the produce will also be explored.
Dan Cooke, Tamar Valley AONB Manager says:
“This is an exciting and important project for the Tamar Valley and its communities. The Tamar Valley, until relatively recently, supported a significant market gardening industry and this project will not only help to preserve the character of this special place, but will also support and grow the number of local enterprises.
“There are lots of opportunities for people to get outdoors and involved in growing, with all the associated benefits for your wellbeing too.”
Tamar Grow Local has been commissioned by the Tamara Landscape Partnership Scheme to lead the Promoting our Produce project, which will see over 200 people complete one of the new husbandry courses; 180 people take part in a demonstration at one of the 3 new demonstration allotment plots and over 20 volunteers sign up as ambassadors.
Rachael Forster from Tamar Grow Local says:
“Along with other partners in the scheme we are delighted to be bringing a raft of opportunities for local people to get out and about in the valley. The Promoting our Produce project will offer opportunities for people to share knowledge, get involved in growing food and develop new skills for recreational and commercial growing. We’ll also be providing a signposting service for local people wanting to find local food, or to get involved with volunteering and community projects.”
Produce from the Tamar Valley helped to feed a growing population around the country in the 19th and 20th centuries. Before the 1950s the Valley’s market gardens, many now reverted back to fields, woodland and scrub, supported up to 10,000 workers. The Valley’s food also supplied the vessels docking at Plymouth who stocked-up before their long voyages.
The Tamara Landscape Partnership Scheme aims to create a brighter future for the Tamar Valley and its communities by working with farmers, landowners and communities to manage and enhance landscapes that are rich in wildlife, as well as cultural and historic heritage; to help improve access to special places and to promote ways for people to enjoy the landscape whilst improving their health and wellbeing. With match-funding commitments from other partners, the total to be invested across the Tamar Valley landscape until 2025 will be £3.2 million.
Tamar Grow Local is a Community Interest Company founded on co-operative principles and established in 2007. Over the last 15 years it has become an umbrella organisation that supports a family of land-based community projects and enterprises which promote local food and produce in the Tamar River catchment. Tamar Grow Local core activities are focused around community, commercial and educational agendas, although these are frequently combined and self-supporting.