Friends of Maesteg Welfare Park
Helen Green Online Campaigner at Oxfam
21st Feb 2013
Food Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and they all deserve appreciation and support in their ways of making the world a fairer and more just place.
Friends of Maesteg Welfare Park (FMWP) are an impressive group of volunteers who bring people together through running a community garden in the local park.
They cooperate very skilfully with many local partners - from schools to important community members who help providing advice for growing. As local schools have been involved not only have the Friends created a strong base of helpers with the garden but they also help children in learning about nature, where and how the food is grown and how the food chain works. The mutual benefits are excellent - while the park group have regular gardeners children are learning about food issues which will help them to make better food choices in the future.
The garden is also open to the whole town and thus provides a relaxing space for anyone to do 'drop-in' gardening. There is also an orchard, just next to the garden - each tree growing there has been sponsored by somebody from the town. All the trees are native species and the sense of the ownership enhances the commitment of the community to look after this special place as well as motivates the group to keep raising necessary funds.
The video I have made - and which you can see below - catches the atmosphere of the harvest day in the garden. You can feel the buzz of excitement as parents and children were harvesting together the vegetables they had been looking after the past season. They were sharing their experience of growing their own food as well as coming up with ideas for delicious meals they would cook from all the veg.
Friends of Maesteg Welfare Park are my food heroes because they have worked so effectively and managed to engage both children and adults while raising awareness within larger community as well - many people have been inspired to start their own vegetable patches in their front gardens. And this is not the end of it - in 2013 the group is looking to link with local beekeepers to consider having a beehive and producing honey alongside the vegetable growing - yet another great example of promoting sustainable food!