Village Produce Associations were formed to carry on from the “Dig for Victory” campaign, that was started to produce as much as possible for the country’s’ food needs during the Second World War. Monmouthshire in 1958 had 20 VPA’s spread all over the county. County Quiz competitions, Annual County shows & Harvest festivals were held at various locations, and the raffle proceeds would go to charity. After the Harvest festival an auction of donated items would be held and those proceeds would also go to charity. County Spring and Summer Garden competitions were also held with results & slides being shown at the Annual General Meeting.
The VPA’s paid a fee to be affiliated with the Usk College of Agriculture after the grant given by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was stopped in 1960. Because of this affiliation the County Annual Show was held at Usk College during their Open Day. Competition was quite fierce but very friendly, great “Camaraderie” was enjoyed. Our VPA was pretty successful and was one of the largest in the County. Which has probably helped it to survive, whilst many others have finished or become Gardening Clubs. There are a small number surviving and we encourage people with an interest in gardening to join one of us and enjoy joint interests. Due to changes at Usk College in the 1990’s the VPA’s connection to them finished.
Llantilio Pertholey Village Produce Association was formed on 29th October 1956 at the Old W.I. Hut, Mardy, in conjuction with the Monmouthshire Institute of Agriculture & Horticulture. Mr R Perrott from the Institute gave an address about forming the VPA. He then showed films on “Simple Fruit Pruning and Kew Gardens”. The Hall rent was 7/6p for a General Meeting and 2/6p for a Committee Meeting. On 19th November 1956 sixty people were present to see Mr Williamson of “Wyevale Nurseries” give a talk and show coloured slides on “Roses”.
We normally meet at the Community Hall off St Davids Road, Mardy, Abergavenny, next to Ysgol Y Fenni at 7:00pm. This is on the third Monday of the month. Sometimes we are not there as we could be on one of our Social outings or on our holiday break. A speaker appears at each meeting and a multitude of subjects are covered. New members are always welcome. We have two jumble sales a year, a summer event, harvest service and harvest supper at a local Hostelry. In 1957 the members famously catered themselves for sixty people; 3 gallons of soup, 8lbs of beef, 4lbs of ham,1 tin of potato crisps, 5 dozen bread rolls, 2lbs of butter, 18 lettuce, 3 cucumbers, 8lbs of tomatoes, beetroot, jars of pickles, 3 jars of salad cream, half a pint of vinegar, packet of salt, tin of mustard, 2lbs of assorted cheese biscuits ,2lbs of Cheddar, Danish blue, Caerphilly cheese, 8 apple tarts, 1lb of caster sugar, 2lbs of granulated sugar, half a pound of tea and 4 pints of milk were all consumed!
Also we have an Annual Members Show the first Saturday in September which is open to the public from 2:00pm to visit. Competitors range from 3 to 93 years of age, with 100 classes and 500 entries. In years gone by members brought their entries in wheelbarrows. We are very proud of our show, please come and take a look yourselves, or join us and enter yourselves. We currently round off our year with a three course Christmas meal,entertainment and a visit from Father Christmas (Never too Old for that!). We try to be a very welcoming group and our new members ideas can help us to freshen up our events. Our membership cost is extremely reasonable too. Far from being a VPA for older people we welcome younger members and actively try to stimulate and develop an interest for children and their families regarding gardening. This can be seen at the Annual Members Show, this year on September 6th,2014, when some fantastic children’s entries can be seen, along with a vast range of classes.
Please keep checking the website for information on meetings, events,photographs, outings etc. We hope you enjoy the wonderful satisfaction and benefits that gardening can personally bring us all, even if it is only looking at them sometimes!