Sharing stories of sustainability is one of our aims here at Seaweed Surf Shack. Recently we spoke to Tom of Cae Tan. Cae Tan means fire field in English and is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in the Gower. CSAs are established via community members who sign up and purchase a share of the produce. This system provides security in that it enables produce to be grown organically and in an environmentally conscious way. CSAs however, don’t just grow veg, but rather they bring together local communities to help change our food systems for the better.
The establishment of Cae Tan CSA stemmed from Tom’s experience working in horticultural therapy and larger scale agriculture. During this time, Tom noticed that as a farm becomes larger, the need for machinery increases whilst the engagement with local people unfortunately diminishes. This fueled Tom’s desire to learn more about CSAs, and after a chance half-joking conversation with a landowner in the Gower, Cae Tan CSA was born. Tom grew up surfing on the Gower peninsula with his brother, before moving away for work. When Tom returned to the Gower, it was to establish Cae Tan. We asked Tom if he thinks surfing has had an influence on his work in organic food. His response was that both surfing and growing food make him feel present – being surrounded by the sand, sea and soil is real and enlivening, and essentially ‘just feels good’.”
Finally, we asked Tom to give some advice for those interested in organic growing, whether that be growing veg in back gardens, leasing an allotment or even starting up a CSA. Tom’s first bit of advice was to just go for it and learn by doing. Secondly, visit other organic growers and ask lots of questions. And finally, there will always be problems no matter how experienced you are, but you learn by overcoming these problems.
Massive thanks to Tom for sharing with us. Tom’s advice has certainly inspired and motivated us to plant more vegetables!’ Check them out here – www.caetancsa.org