With more and more people interested in and participating in food production, and with growing at home at an all-time high due to COVID-19, now is a great time for small horticultural businesses to expand their ventures.
To help grow smaller edible horticultural businesses operating in Wales, Food Sense Wales along with partners Social Farms & Gardens, are awarding up to six grants of between £2500 to £5000 to small businesses with no more than 5-Hectares of production land. The grant application process is now open and the closing date for applications is midday, Monday 30th November 2020.
This is a fantastic opportunity for small horticultural businesses to access small capital grants as part of Peas Please, a UK National Lottery funded programme whose main aim us to drive up veg consumption. This grant is being delivered in Wales by Food Sense Wales in partnership with Social Farms & Gardens.
This funding is available to research and pilot the difference that small capital investments can make to small scale horticulture businesses. Grants of between £2500 to £5000 will be offered to a small number of applicants in Wales. Preference will be given to those operating in low-income areas.
“For many years horticulture, particularly small scale production, has been under resourced as producers working land of under 5 Hectares have not been eligible for subsidy. However, there is evidence to suggest that they could significantly expand sales and reach if investment in infrastructure was available,” says Katie Palmer, Programme Manager at Food Sense Wales, an organisation that’s working to influence how food is produced and consumed in Wales, ensuring that sustainable food and farming is at the heart of a just, connected and prosperous food system.
“This is a really exciting scheme that will explore the impact that small capital investments can have on these smaller scale horticulture businesses and we’re looking forward to working with companies across Wales to measure the success of the scheme.”
Wales Manager, Gary Mitchell from Social Farms and Gardens adds: “We know that being outdoors provides huge benefits to physical and mental health & wellbeing and that promoting healthy lifestyles is at the top of the agenda in the longer-term fight against COVID-19. With loneliness and mental ill health on the increase, the importance of safe, outdoors community spaces is more important than ever. In addition to this, local, community growing is absolutely key in tackling some key issues surrounding climate change, and biodiversity and will be at the top of the agenda for many people in our communities.”
Successful grant recipients will be required to meet with a researcher, before and after the investment to evaluate what impact the grant investment can make in terms of production, sales and sustainability of the organisation.
This pilot has been designed with key stakeholders and the overall impact of the pilot will be evaluated and a case study report written highlighting areas of good practice, the findings of which will be shared with Welsh Government.