Cwmbran man feeds neighbours during lockdown with world record-winning giant vegetables

A world record-winning giant vegetable grower from Cwmbran, Torfaen, is helping his community grow their own food during the coronavirus lockdown.

Three-time Guinness World Record champion Kevin Fortey has been supplying his neighbours with seeds to grow vegetables such as radishes, carrots and onions.

Strict measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect those most vulnerable to the virus mean shopping for basic necessities must be as infrequent as possible, according to the advice.

As a result, stockpiling has left supermarket shelves empty and online shopping slots full, leaving some people struggling to access fresh food.

Fears over a shortage of supplies have left supermarket shelves across the UK empty. Credit: PA Images

With the Prime Minister urging consumers to shop online during the lockdown, supermarkets' online systems for booking deliveries have been overwhelmed.

Normally only around seven per cent of UK shoppers opt for online grocery services. Now demand is many times higher than that and getting a delivery slot is proving impossible for many.

Kevin Fortey hopes his giant vegetables will feed dozens of people in his area.

"I've got a 23 kilo beetroot here that is probably enough to feed my whole neighbourhood," he said.

"Now I'm in the process of getting my soil ready and grow rooms all set up so I've got plenty of stuff for the summer.

"There could easily be food shortages with production lines going down, but there doesn't have to be if people grow their own."

Kevin grows world record-winning giant vegetables from his home in Cwmbran. Credit: Kevin Fortey

Local resident Howard Thomas said: "It's good to see the community coming together with the coronavirus epidemic that's going on here.

"Thanks to Kevin Fortey, who's renowned for his giant veg, for supplying seeds for families to come together, growing them in the garden, creating activities and hopefully at the end of it all, eating the produce."

Kevin is currently growing lettuce, cabbage, beetroot and kol rabhi at his home with more veg to come through the summer.

He was due to pass on his growing tips at a series of events this summer including the Royal Welsh Show, which has now been cancelled due to the pandemic.

He said: "I usually use sowing and growing as a way to build the community but now we have to do our gardening on our own.

"But the thing is I will never be truly alone as I always have my veg for company."

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