Alice Grey from Tyddyn Teg (above) is leading the GROW place in Wales. Alice is part of a small community farm in north west Wales, situated in a mountainous area called Snowdonia. The farm is on a thin strip of land between the mountains and the sea, gently sloping southwards to the Seiont River. They currently provide around 120 families with beautiful, fresh, organic vegetables on a weekly basis via their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme, as well as 3 local shops and an array of caterers.
Tyddyn Teg (just below Bangor on the open street map above) is operated by a workers’ co-operative of eight people operating on a non-hierarchical basis via consensus decision making.
“My own path to permaculture came via 10 years during which I lived in the occupied Palestinian territories, working with farmers to resist displacement from their land,” Alice said.
“It was through living in this situation that I came to understand the power of connection to land and community as the true capital of resilience — both to climate change and to the insidious forces of capitalism and the military industrial complex that are unfortunately destroying the planet; and the power of permaculture as a toolkit for taking back control,” she added.
Alice returned to the UK in 2016 to help set up Tyddyn Teg Co-operative. She believes it is vital to divest from the destructive capitalist culture as a global community.
“Britain as the first industrialised nation in the world has one of the most ravaged and dysfunctional cultures of all. We need community farms to help put it right, to allow people to be connected to the land once more, to have access to good, clean, local food and to create a food system that does not destroy land and water or operate at the vast expense and to the vast detriment of other beings, human and otherwise,” Alice said.
Alice heard about the GROW project at the UK Permaculture convergence in 2018 and thought that they should join since they experiment with different sustainable farming techniques and collect data about their crops.
“I thought it would be a good thing to get involved, share our data and connect to our comrades around Europe, particularly in the face of the unfortunate direction of British politics at this time,” says Alice.
“Information about the state of our soil and how it is changing is always useful. In addition, I think that creating networks for collaboration is a great end in itself. These networks, once created, help maintain a stronger community and shared sense of purpose and hopefully pave the way for us to do more and better all the time,” she added.
What Alice hopes to achieve with GROW is to match their data on crop production to accurate soil data and assess the impact of some of their different cropping strategies on the soil.