Based in WGU’s Northop Campus, the Project will create a Niche Crops Cluster, focusing on using protective horticulture methods to develop a range of crops to support local food production and grow high value Welsh crops for high end quality Welsh produce. The campus will become a Niche Crops Centre of Excellence in its field and there are plans for a vineyard, a tea plantation and a Welsh Heritage Orchard.
The project will also promote Wales Heritage Orchards Limited, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2021 by the previous Horticulture Wales project, to promote Welsh Heritage fruit varieties across Wales. WHO Ltd is seeking to link up Heritage Orchard owners across Wales, to share knowledge and expertise and develop a WHO Ltd brand for high quality food produce.
The project will reach out to existing Welsh businesses to support local growing to strengthen their brands and add home-grown Welsh flavours to their products.
Pro Vice Chancellor Aulay Mackenzie, Project Director, said, ‘This is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the rural economy of Wales through introducing modern growing methods which will help reduce food poverty and reducing farm to fork miles. It sits perfectly within Wales’s Well-being and Future Generations Act and will have a direct impact on sustainability in Wales.’