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Welsh growers receive free training in pioneering food production method

Welsh food growers will get free training in one of the world’s most advanced growing techniques when they attend a course in aquaponics at the Humble by Nature farm and rural skills centre in Monmouthshire, owned by broadcaster Kate Humble, on 16-17 April.

The course is organised and paid for thanks to partnership between the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens (FCFCG), Welsh Government, Aquaponics UK and Humble by Nature, giving learners access to the only aquaponics learning facility in Wales and the UK. Aquaponics combines aquaculture (farming fish) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil in nutrient-rich water) to create a highly productive and self-sufficient growing system - nutrient-rich fish waste feed the plants, which in turn purify the water ready to pump back into the fish tanks.

The aquaponics greenhouse and resource centre was installed at Humble by Nature in 2014 - since then FCFCG has helped deliver a range of free knowledge sharing, training and events for growers, from large-scale producers to small community gardening groups.

Food security is an increasingly important issue in Wales, as recognised by the Welsh Government in their ‘Food for Wales, Food from Wales’ 2010-20 Food Strategy. Global factors like population growth and pressure on resources such as water, energy and land mean many people are turning to buying locally grown food or even growing their own fresh produce.

Kate Humble said:

“Aquaponics is a truly practical approach to the challenges of producing food in a sustainable, low-cost, low- maintenance way. We’re looking forward to working with FCFCG to share our knowledge with their members.”

Emma Williams, Wales Manager for the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens said:

“The Aquaponics Solar Greenhouse at Humble By Nature is the first of its kind in the UK, and we are very lucky to have such a fantastic facility here in Wales. Training people in Wales in advanced growing techniques like aquaponics is important for a more creating a more diverse and resilient food production system for the future.”