Calon Cymru — the Heart of Wales — suffers from a lack of economic activity and from an exodus of young people and an inflow of retired folk. Calon Cymru Network, a community interest company set up to foster low-impact development in the region, sees horticulture — producing fruit and vegetables — as an essential part of regeneration. Wales produces hardly any fruit or vegetables, but could do so in the corridor of the Heart of Wales railway. There is big potential, as AMBER WHEELER suggests below.
Present population of the corridor is 35,000, with potential to double in 10 years to 70,000.
35,000 people’s fruit and vegetable needs (at 5 a day excluding potatoes), and including 35% food waste from farm to fork (a typical level, which should be much lower) = 0.2 tonnes/per person/per year = 7,000 tonnes per year, rising to 14,000 tonnes in 10 years time for a population twice as large.
Achievable yields in Wales = at least 10 tonnes/hectare average for mixed fruit and vegetable cropping.
10 tonnes per hectare/per year from 700 hectares could yield 7,000 tonnes, and from 1,400 hectares, 14,000 tonnes.
Calon Cymru Network is concerned with a 130 km length of the corridor, 4 km wide, containing about 36,400 hectares of undeveloped rural land of all types.
To be able to grow 100% of the corridor’s current fruit and veg needs would require 2% of the rural land, rising to 4% if the population doubled. Hardly any land is used for these purposes at present.
Obviously this is a simplification, but the Heart of Wales corridor could support a larger population and produce much more of those people’s food needs.
And this is one of Calon Cymru Network’s ambitions.