PICTURED: CSA volunteers have helped grow fruit and vegetables on the site near Morriston Hospital.
A project aiming to supply Morriston Hospital with fruit and vegetables has moved a step closer after unearthing its first harvest of crops.
Not-for-profit organisation Cae Felin Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is growing crops on land owned by the health board near the hospital.
Staff have been volunteering to help the CSA work towards its long-term goal of growing fruit and veg for patient meals in Morriston Hospital, selling food boxes and also providing them for low income and deprived areas.
They have helped grow the initial small round of crops including kale, lettuce, cabbage and berries.
Consultant surgeon Will Beasley is a director of Cae Felin, which is independently run but supported by the health board as part of its wider commitment to a more sustainable future.
Will said: “The dedication of our volunteers has made Cae Felin what it is so far, and we’ve overcome many challenges – including a drought in May and June – to get to the stage where we can now produce crops.
“A lot of work has been put in already, but we have aspirations of providing veg boxes for low income and deprived areas, along with a long-term goal of providing the hospital with fruit and veg to use for patient meals.
“Next season we’ll also look to sell veg boxes.”
Despite numerous challenges this year, the project has come a long way with health board volunteers, who work across dietetics, physiotherapy, neuro-rehab, domestic services and endoscopy, building beds, planting trees and supplying material to construct vegetable beds.
Material from endoscopy theatres have also been recycled to use as bags to collect potatoes, while cardboard from Morriston Hospital has helped create the beds to help grow crops.
Volunteers have benefited by developing new skills and enjoying the therapeutic benefits associated with gardening activities.
They have helped plant more than 1,500 hedgerow trees, a green house, over 150 fruit and trees along with a rainwater system and compost bays.
The small first crop has now been shared with them as a thank you for their efforts, ahead of growing future crops for the hospital and local community.
PICTURED: Some of the vegetables grown by volunteers at the CSA.
Cae Felin is hoping to attract more staff to volunteer and help grow the project further.
Project manager Simon Peacock said: “It’s been great seeing the health board staff giving up their time to make sure we are at the stage where we are now producing fruit and veg.
“We’d love to see more staff getting involved. There are so many social benefits from this as well as knowing you’re doing something so positive in terms of healthy eating and sustainability.
“We have not been able to fully launch this year, but hopefully that’s something we can do in the near future.
“But for now, our focus remains on getting more crops into the ground, establish more growing beds and building the resilience of the site - a key feature of which is creating a pond system throughout the field to create wildlife habitat, attract beneficial predators and improve the water holding capacity of the soil.”
Cae Felin hold open volunteer days every Saturday between 10am-2pm as well as most Fridays and Mondays. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07388 822273 for more information.