Friday, 2 September 2011

An Unlikely Transition: Football Stadium to Community Garden

Image courtesy of Vetch Veg
Long before Swansea City AFC moved in to their new stadium and gained promotion into the Barclays Premier League, the Vetch Field in the Sandfields area of the centre lay home to the club and hosted many an enthralling game.  The stadium got its name for the vetch that grew over it's surface when the field was initially under development. But I doubt anyone involved could predict that nearly 100 years since the Vetch Field opened, Leguminous plants would return in the form of peas and beans destined for the dinner plate. 

With the development of the new Liberty stadium and the subsequent move, the Vetch field has been left derelict.  Since the move in 2005, the local council has been seeking developers to convert the former football pitch in to a housing development, but with no immediate plans to build and a large empty space still remaining, the Vetch lacked a sense of purpose.  The pitch was left to grow wild and the eerily empty stands were home only to opportunistic plants and animals.  In a new twist of fate, the Vetch Field is set to undertake a transformation through a project led by artist Owen Griffiths called VETCH VEG, in association with ADAIN AVION; the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad ‘Artists Taking the Lead’ project for Wales.
Image courtesy of Vetch Veg
This new project is set to change the Sandfields area of Swansea, which surrounds the former stadium, and help to integrate it's inhabitants and build community spirit.  The surrounding area is a diverse space consisting of primary schools, churches, local businesses, Chinese supermarkets, a mosque, a Territorial Army base and a prison, amongst other things.  For it's allocated twelve months, residents and businesses from Sandfields are being invited to grow their own fruit and vegetables led by the dynamic artist who will be taking over a section of the pitch.  Temporary vegetable gardens will be created, with many raised beds and a polytunnel,  where local residents will have the opportunity to work together, grow their own produce, and even keep bees.  After the initial twelve months of the project there will be a grand finale; the VETCH VEG Flower and Produce Show and communal meal, scheduled for June 2012 during ADAIN AVION’s visit to Swansea. 

As of August 2011 the site has been prepared to ensure the project start date in September. For more information about VETCH VEG please visit the blog, follow on Facebook and Twitter or email  

The VETCH VEG Project is a participatory and interdisciplinary social artwork in association with ADAIN AVION, Wales’s ‘Artists taking the lead’ commission, funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council of Wales, included in the London 2012 Festival and part of London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. ADAIN AVION is project managed by Taliesin Arts Centre in partnership in Swansea with Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Environmental Forum and the City and County of Swansea.


  1. This project sounds awesome. So it is now September. Is it happening? Hope the cuts haven't pulled it.

  2. Funding is secure as far as I know and yes things are still going ahead. You can follow the projects' progress via twitter, facebook and the blog (links can be found at the end of my post).


  3. Lived there 20 years and never knew why the Vetch was called that!

    Great news. Would that all footie pitches could be covered in fruit and veg.

  4. Would be great if all brownfield sites could be utilized in this way

  5. It is happening!

    But (obnov) it's cold and windy and slow to make+grow a critical mass of beds and greenery.

    Roll on the glories of spring!

  6. One of the vetch-veggers seems to have had xmas lunch there!


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