What does the WFGA Do?
Offers those with an interest in growing the opportunity to network within a membership of professional growers, to exchange ideas and experiences.
Training facilities via the WRAG Scheme and a full programme of specialist skills workshops and workdays in most counties of England and Wales.
Designs and organises small groups to tour gardens throughout Europe, taking in specialist events and nurseries at very competitive rates.
Publishes newsletters with articles of interest and information for members and booklets on specialist subjects
Offers a range of specialist clothing, postcards, books and tools at discounted rates.
Funding opportunities through the Christine Ladley fund, to enable members to apply for funds for specialist training, educational projects, travel and community projects.
Hosts an annual ‘Seminar’ on the employment opportunities in horticulture, with speakers and discussion groups.
Aims and Objectives:
A hundred years or so on the original aims, aspirations and objectives continue to underpin the activities of the Association in the 21st century.
To network and unite all those who work in agriculture, horticulture and allied industries, rising to the changes occurring and the challenges arising.
To promote, encourage and establish the opportunities to study and practice these professions, with particular interest in practical aspects.
To form a membership where help and advice can be channeled and exchanged, through networking, seminars and WFGA publications.
To provide a link where members can express opinions and have a voice at national and international levels, on growing issues that are of concern to those working on the land.
The Women’s Farm and Garden Association is a registered charity, founded in 1899 by women concerned about the lack of education and employment opportunities for women working on the land.
Membership was open to all connected in any way with the land, in farming, gardening and allied industries or those with a keen interest in these matters. Many of the founder members were professional women working in education, gardening, farming and small holdings. The Association set about establishing training courses and examinations, with an Employment Bureau offering a service for both employers and employees.
At the outbreak of the First World War a founder member Louisa Wilkins realised that there would be a shortage of labour on the land and the Women’s Land Corps was launched offering work placements to women, both rural and urban. This movement was so successful that it soon outgrew a small voluntary organisation and was taken up by the Government and the first Women’s Land Army was born.
Between the wars there were difficult years of recession and the Association worked hard to improve the working conditions and status of women in land work and to open up employment opportunities to qualified trainees. The first training scheme in practical skills was sent up during the Second World War giving valuable service to those seeking to work on the land, this led to the development of Government Youth Training Schemes. Throughout this time the Association exhibited at many agricultural and horticultural shows, promoting the need for training and giving out information and career guidance.
In 1993 the Association having identified a need for a training scheme for older students as none existed elsewhere, established the ‘Women Returners to Amenity Gardening Scheme’. Designed to offer ‘returners’ who were considering a career in horticulture, training in practical gardening skills, within private and public gardens throughout the United Kingdom.
Since that first pilot scheme, WRAGS has enjoyed great successful and is now established as one of the leading training schemes, highly respected by the horticultural sector. In 2014 the name was changed to reflect the change in the type of applicants applying.