Glynn Vivian helps Vetch Veg turn former home of Swansea City into community artwork

By Ben Miller | 24 January 2012
A photo of a group of people at a community allotment
© Owen Griffiths
After opening a century ago this year, the Vetch Field in Swansea played host to its local football club until it switched to the pristine Liberty Stadium in 2005.

And while the Swans enjoy a renaissance of their own under the Premier League spotlight, their former home is being transformed into an urban utopia in a project between artist Owen Griffiths and the local community.

A photo of an overgrown football pitch in front of a stand of seats
The former look of the Vetch Field
© Owen Griffiths
They've spent six months turning part of the field of former dreams into a community vegetable garden – Vetch Veg is currently the scene of 103 raised beds and two tunnels, with chickens and bees on the way.

"Re-using, reshaping and rethinking resources such as the Vetch, to have a temporary use as an edible land, are an obvious and necessary way of negotiating a new sense of land management," says Griffiths, who's been inspired to turn pitch into patch as part of a Cultural Olympiad commission.

"Reconnecting with the process of growing food and self-sufficiency is becoming increasingly significant as food prices rocket and financial cuts increase. It is also in some way a shift to a more entrepreneurial and creative society."

Beyond the turnips and spirit of rural revolution, there are all sorts of arty offshoots at play – the plot, which just about the entire local community seems to have set foot on, is intended as a kind of artwork, and a shed sculpture will act as a central space for a library, talks and performances.

The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery has adopted the Vetch for its offsite activities, although it’s unclear whether the ever-inventive venue has been helping the hardy souls cooking soup and tending crops there this winter.

The project will last up to 12 months, culminating in grand finale the Vetch Veg Flower and Produce Show, as well as a "communal culinary celebration" outside the National Waterfront Museum in June 2012. As public art projects go, this one is fresher than most.

Follow the project blog.
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