A Great Grain & Oat Revival in Wales

Across Wales, Programme Coordinator Katie Hastings is working alongside a swathe of committed farmers, grain growers and seed savers to strengthen the diversity of the country. Here’s a quick overview of some of the work taking place and the community groups taking root. If you’d like to get involved or connect with any of the groups mentioned please drop Katie a line on katie@gaianet.org

Llafur Ni (Our Cereals)

LLafur Ni are a network of farmers and growers working together across Wales to increase grain diversity. Over the past two years the group have collectively bulked up the seed from 14 landrace oat varieties, all on the brink of extinction, in the hope of bringing them back to our fields. They share knowledge, grain and machinery by working inter-generationally, with older farmers teaching younger farmers about the seeds from the past.  

 

Our Wales Seed Hub

Our Wales Seed Hub is a  small collective of growers who have taken part in our seed production training are now selling ecologically grown seeds in Wales. The seeds have been grown in Wales, are suited to local conditions and will be for sale in shops and markets. Starting small with 2 – 3 varieties, the group plans to expand in future years to offer more Welsh grown seed to meet increased demand.  

 

 

“These are exciting times for the revival of rare welsh grains and oats. There’s renewed interest, rare varieties being refound and replanted, and a next generation determined to learning from elders and restoring lost heritage to the landscape.”
Katie Hastings, Seed Sovereignty Coordinator for Wales

 

 

Machynlleth Grain Growers hand harvesting YQ wheat

Also in Wales… 

Rye and Roses Bakery: growing and baking with diverse grains in Mid Wales, working with elderly farmers from the Merionedd Vintage Clwb to bring heritage grains back to the Dyfi Valley. Selling a Dyfi Loaf with bread grown in Mid Wales from mixed population YQ seed. Programme Coordinator Katie Hastings is a grower for this group. You can follow them at @ryeandroses 

The Welsh Grain Forum is a community of millers, bakers, farmers, maltsters and enthusiasts. They are the guardians of the Welsh landrace wheat Hen Gymro, which was brough back from extinction a few years ago by member Andy Forbes of Brockwell Bake.  Follow them @WelshGrain  

Lampeter Seed Library: With over 100 members, Lampeter Seed Library is community run and holds the seeds for over 150 varieties. Members can ‘borrow’ seeds and then return seed to the library the following year