Members of the community are being offered opportunities to grow food for themselves and their families in allotments, greenhouses and polycrubs through a new project led by Tagsa Uibhist.
‘Grow Your Own Community’ will aim to teach people more about the links between growing food, avoiding food waste and acting on climate change, at the same time strengthening social cohesion and developing a low carbon future for Uist.
Tagsa Uibhist won a grant of £128,411 from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund to set up the project. ‘Grow Your Own Community’ will run for one year, beginning on 1st April 2017 and continuing until 31st March 2018.
Activities planned as part of the project include providing young families and social housing residents with low carbon community growing facilities and developing a carbon literate network of horticultural trainers, volunteers and a Mental Health and Wellbeing Support Worker. It is also planned to deliver a practical community workshop programme on how to use and re-use local waste materials for food growing purposes.
In addition, ‘Grow Your Own Community’ will work to achieve a significant CO2e reduction in food miles by working with local organisations and businesses to increase outlets for locally grown potatoes, and by increasing capacity in the islands crofting community to produce and promote machair potatoes as a highly-prized, island grown product that uses traditional knowledge and practices, as well as locally harvested seaweed as a low carbon fertilizer.
‘Grow Your Own Community’ offers free support to help people learn how to grow food for their households, as well as supplying information on reducing food waste and climate change.
CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST FROM THE COMMUNITY:
‘Grow Your Own Community’ would like to hear from residents in the community who would be interested in having a polycrub installed near to where they live so that they can learn to grow food almost on their doorstep.
‘Grow Your Own Community’ is looking for the following:
- A level site of at least 5m x 13m.
- Ideally would be near to social housing and young families.
- Ownership or permission to use the site must be forthcoming.
- A written statement is required from community council to confirm all the above.
- Once agreement is met, planning permission must be sought by the community council as soon as possible.
‘Grow Your Own Community’ will provide the following:
- Poly Crub 4m x 12m ( http://www.nortenergy.co.uk/).
- All construction costs.
- Internally built raised beds, including topsoil and manure.
- Support worker for each site to assist you with all your growing needs.
Laura Donkers, Project Leader said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for even more local people to benefit from the food growing project that has been running for the last two years. Now we will be able to develop more ‘Grow Your Own Community’ hubs across the islands, and increase the supply of machair grown potatoes through the ‘Potatoes for Schools’ initiative that encourages crofters to grow extra potatoes for use in the islands schools’ canteens.”
Peter Keiller, Chair of Tagsa Board of Trustees said: “Tagsa Uibhist is delighted that the Climate Challenge Fund has recognised the success of the Local Food for Local People project by awarding a further years funding. Our aim is to further extend the project into all areas of our community, to bring people together and engage everyone – the young, the old, the disabled and disadvantaged, in realising the potential to increase local food production in Uist. This project is an important part of Tagsa Uibhist’s vision of building a vibrant, strong and caring community where we work together to look after each other.”
Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful commented: “Climate change impacts all of us and we need collective action to tackle it, so we were delighted to have supported so many communities from across Scotland in preparing applications for the latest round of the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.
“We congratulate all those community-led organisations awarded Climate Challenge Fund grants and look forward to working with them as they implement their projects.”
The Climate Challenge Fund is £9.97 million in 2017-18, with the Scottish Government contributing £9.09 million to the fund, while £0.88 million comes from the European Regional Development Fund. Since the fund launched in 2008, £85.8 million has been awarded. Keep Scotland Beautiful, an environmental charity, manages the fund on behalf of the Scottish Government.