The way small Welsh businesses - including one in Llangollen - have supported their communities during the C-19 pandemic will be celebrated in film thanks to Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s Horticulture Wales project.
The project has commissioned a series of short films to celebrate the success of the businesses, and show the diverse range of ways that the businesses – each members of the project – worked to support communities across Wales during the March lockdown – and beyond.
The films feature businesses from right across Wales and their diverse stories show how horticulture-linked businesses of all kinds found themselves adapting their practices to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Llangollen, Zingiber Wholefoods based in Bridge Street found the changes the pandemic wrought a major challenge – but ensured their friendly, customer-led shop was able to keep providing the personal touches which it prides itself on.
Owner Chris Baker said: “We kept going all the way through the pandemic, but had to adapt the way we work and interact with customers.
"At first, we limited the number of customers in the shop to only two at a time but, once the March lockdown began, we stopped allowing customers in at all. Instead, they were served from a temporary counter in the shop doorway.
“Mostly customers would send in orders via email, text or telephone. We would put together what they wanted and they would call just to collect and pay.
“We soon learned who wanted smooth or crunchy peanut butter, and dark or light tahini, and who preferred everything organic where available!"
He added: "A lot of products – bags of flour in particular – were in high demand and so difficult to obtain reliably from our wholesalers. When even sacks of flour could not be bought from our usual suppliers, the local bakery came up trumps and were able to supply us.
“At one time we had locally grown salad and other vegetables but, sadly, they weren’t able to continue supplying us, so there’s a bit of a gap there. We’d like to be able to fill it.
“It would be great to hear from local growers, local producers. We’re always willing to have a look at what you’re offering, and perhaps we’ll be able to stock it.”
Laura Gough, Head of Enterprise at Wrexham Glyndwr University, said: “We recognise the challenges faced by our members’ businesses over the past few months, and wanted to record these with a series of short films, highlighting their resilience and their response to the pandemic.
“Working together with FilmCafe, these films demonstrate how local growers, horticulturalists and producers have worked together, kept their communities safe and supplied Wales with local goods and produce.”
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I would like to congratulate all of the producers and businesses from across Wales whose work has been highlighted thanks to this project.
“The determination and innovation they’ve shown in adapting to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic are characteristic of the resilient nature of this sector, along with the effort they have put in to support their local communities.”