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Pockets and Prospects Fund

We have a number of funds up to £500 to distribute to groups growing areas of economic disadvantage. If you are a constituted growing group with an idea where you know a small spend would make a big difference please make contact help@ This fund requires a very short application and ‘light touch’ reporting. New applicants will be given priority. We are happy to discuss your ideas.

Groups from across Scotland have used the funds to:

  • Buy ingredients to support community meals
  • Buy a strimmer and other tools
  • Install and plant raised growing beds throughout their community
  • Run workshops with sessional staff
  • Plant up an unused area of land with fruit trees
  • Extend water catchment systems for polytunnel growing and a heap more..

The Pockets and Prospects Fund is funded via the Scottish Community Alliance’s Community Capacity and Resilience Fund. Read more about the Alliance‘s work here.

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Every week is climate week

Every week is climate week, as demonstrated by folk coming together to care for, connect and cherish our relationship with the climate, nature and each other through growing and sharing food. Groups of all models, shapes and sizes across Scotland are growing community, building resilience and taking essential steps for our greener future because it’s practical, hopeful and rewarding! Celebrating our seasons, reusing waste, sowing and saving locally grown seed, trialling new grains, distributing fresh, nutritious, affordable food, and educating and engaging people to connect with, protect and enjoy our natural world are becoming the new normal.
So, if you’d like to do something practical and hopeful in your local community, join us ANY week of the year; we need you.
A range of local groups welcome volunteers and can be found here.

Want to see a local growing initiative in your community? We can help.

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Reclaiming the soil

Campy Growers, or Camperdown Growing Collective, have reclaimed the former Dundee Council nursery in Camperdown Country Park on the west side of the city and are breathing life back into the soil to produce fresh fruit and vegetables for local folk, demonstrating what’s possible with a big vision, a team of regular volunteers and a lot of city council Discovery Compost produced from the city’s green waste! 

Campy Growers grew from a feasibility study in 2019 reviewing interest regarding the former council plant nursery site and local people’s need for fresh, affordable food. The group took on the ground once covered in plastic, full of flatworm and heavily compacted from years of growing in pots. The soil then was a combination of clay and grit between two layers of plastic, quite acidic in places and with a history of regular glyphosate use. Some said “you will never grow anything in that.” However, determination and hard work have seen this unused land, close to a dense urban population, brought back under cultivation to feed people. The Campy Growers have since grown in number and have quadrupled the area under cultivation. Theirs is a story of reclaiming and working the soil for the common good.  

Nadege, Project Development Worker/Gardeniser, shares their soil story. “It took all winter to remove the plastic: there was no air or water infiltration, and the soil was very poor and compacted. We used the no-dig broad fork method, which perforates and aerates the soil and lets the worms do the work. The soil contains quite a lot of clay in places; by adding 5cm – 10cm of dark council compost on top of the original paler soil, we could soon see evidence of the worms bringing the compost down into the ground and bringing the soil back to life. Bed by bed, we are slowly reclaiming the soil.” 

Other regenerative approaches used on site include leaving the roots in from the harvested veg, such as beans and lettuce, so that they continue to feed the soil; rotating crops and experimenting with different types of ‘green manure,’ chicory, clover, and phacelia, to break up and enrich the soil and welcome the bees. “Three years on, and the soil is producing a variety of crops that are growing well. We keep working to improve the soil, but there have been challenges.. we’ve lost 60 raspberry canes this year because one soil area was too acidic, so we are experimenting with methods to reduce the acidity. We also have constant battles with huge slugs that we collect several times a week and rehome in the park. It’s all trial and error, but we keep going, our work feels positive, hopeful and supporting people to grow their food is increasingly important.”  

Campy Growers’ soil story is theirs, but every community growing site has one with different challenges and successes. However, looking after our soil together is an amazing, shared purpose, and every growing space that grows with and for nature and climate has soil health at its heart.  

Want to know more?

Need support with your soil journey? Help@ can support you with practical resource, horticultural advice and signpost you to other groups with a similar experience.

Shore Lane community garden

Inverclyde Shed – meet, make, grow+share

The Story So far:

The Inverclyde Shed manages two growing spaces: a community garden at Shore Street, Gourock, established in 2019 and a larger market garden at Muirshiel Lane, Port Glasgow, established in 2001; our group was registered with OSCR in September 2019. The gardens are an addition to our community workshops and provide spaces for members & volunteers to meet, make, grow & share.

Shore Street historically would have been beach along the River Clyde, reclaimed to form part of the railway terminus in the 19th century and subsequently reclaimed as amenity ground with housing and green space. In 2017, the site and adjacent area were developed as a community growing space for a local schools & church group and a memorial garden for a late local artist, George Wyllie. The garden fell into disrepair until The Inverclyde Shed took over the running of it and brought it back to life, extending it, adding beds, vertical growing frames, a small greenhouse, shed, composting and orchards. The garden is fully self-reliant in compost, producing over 12 tons each year from grass & wood chip deliveries, local veg scrap collections, coffee ground donations from local cafes and on-site garden waste. This site is open to the public 24/7.

http://instagram.com/shorestreetgardens/

Land Agreement: 

 License to occupy council-owned land for community gardening; this license has been extended over the years to include a 40-tree orchard space and a small public park. The agreement is on a rolling month-by-month basis.

Muirshiel Lane was historically farmland and remained unbuilt as an industrial estate rose around it, mainly due to difficult levels/access road arrangements. The local Development Trust had used this growing space as a growing project for five years, but it became unused when core funding for the project ran out. At this point, The Inverclyde Shed, working in partnership with a local group Permalott, started to develop the site, investing in polytunnels, wild fruit hedgerows, willow, apple, cherry & plum orchards and extending the growing area by building new beds and importing compost to create ’no dig’ beds. Latterly, we have established composting stations on site with the aim of being fully self-reliant in compost by 2025, with an estimated 20 tons of compost made each year.

We have also set up an apiary near Muirshiel Lane, in a sheltered courtyard space between the derelict industrial warehouses.

 Land Agreement: 

An informal arrangement with a private owner to occupy some waste ground for community growing. The agreement is on a rolling month-by-month basis,

 Advice to other groups:

You don’t always need an extended lease or ownership to start growing; sometimes, a looser and/or short-term rolling arrangement de-risks things for everyone to just get started. It can mean that the group has flexibility over its future whilst still investing time and resource into the site.

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Land Stories

Each story in this ongoing series highlights different ways to access and work with the land to grow more food, make connections and create community greenspaces that deliver in many different ways for the people that use them.
Within every story, there is inspiration and nuggets of invaluable knowledge for community groups and landowners to be passed on to enable others to join a growing movement. If you are an active growing group, you will have a Land Story; share it here to demonstrate what is possible and sow some inspiration. FInd Land Stories, Resources and technical land advice here.

Stans Gardening Club

Stan’s gardening club

Many local folk on a mission to grow food and community want to do just that. Enablers can support local action in a number of ways to support groups to get growing and ensure that everyone benefits. Menstrie Community Garden reflects on 20 years of partnership with the community council.

When we started our growing journey, I was a keen gardener and, at that time, Chair of the Community Council. We took on developing the old drying area for council flats within Menstrie Castle that had become derelict and a dumping ground for rubbish and a drinking den. We approached our local council and were granted a year-on-year lease of £1 per anum. The land itself had a tarred surface and was not particularly conducive to growing but we successfully applied for a grant to secure and clear the area and purchase a polytunnel, and then when the council nursery closed, we repurposed their old sleepers as raised beds for growing on top of the tarmac.

The Community Council were central to our establishment; as a constituted body, we could access grant funding for garden developments, access council officers and politicians, and the legal dept to draw up a lease. Over time the raised beds became unsafe, the volunteers a little older, and the site looked a little sad. Over all these years, the volunteers had no real identity and, despite supporting us through our journey, no real position on the Community Council; more recently this has all changed and ‘Stan’s Gardening Club’ ( named after one of our main volunteers passed away) became a recognised group under the umbrella of Menstrie Community Council. This has given us access to a bank account, constitution and ongoing support. Reinvigorated and under the community council umbrella, we successfully applied for a grant (circa £11.5k), redeveloping the garden to be more user-friendly and easier access to work for the raised beds.

The new garden is used as a growing area but also serves as a community meeting point, not just for gardening but for events (the polytunnel becomes a Santa’s grotto!), get-togethers and, importantly, to bring our school children into growing food and, flowers, essential for our next generation of volunteers.

We welcome many groups through our gates, some to garden, some to enjoy the facility, but each one brings a new perspective to our small group and our connection with the community.

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Time well spent..

Newtongrange Guerrilla Gardeners have transformed an unused piece of derelict council land into a thriving community garden offering food growing and recreation opportunities for all in just a matter of months. Once the most significant mining village in Scotland, Newtongrange is home to people from all walks of life. The Gardeners, under the Newtongrange Development Trust (NDT), have brightened up small spaces across the village since 2021.

The model of community endeavour to create happy, healthy and better-connected local communities through food growing is not unusual; however, the Newtongrange volunteer story highlights opportunities to be gained from tapping into post covid home working patterns. Rebecca, the social media volunteer, ensures the group has a high profile within the village and beyond, “A strong social media following and regular updates on What’s On Newtongrange and NDT, presence at volunteer fares, banner advertisements and our group logo T-shirts, enables us to reach a wide demographic of people within the village. The newly formed garden regularly hosts up to 30 volunteers on a Tuesday morning; several of our core volunteers use their homeworking situation to volunteer with us. Some work flexi hours take their break time in the garden as an opportunity to step away from their desk mentally and physically. Through Employer Supported Volunteering, some are allowed to give money directly to their volunteer charity for the hours they attend out with their working day, and some get paid a day’s leave to complete volunteer hours within their community. Homeworkers offer so much, we’ve gained a new stream of steady volunteers, and everyone has benefitted.”

Julie, one of the gardeners, told us,My employee allows me a minimum of 8 hours as a paid volunteer per year, as well as £500 a year, paid directly to the charity I volunteer for. 

A 2019 report, Time Well Spent, makes interesting findings in this context:

  • Most Scottish volunteers engaged with local organisations.
  • A third of Scottish volunteers reported they were motivated to start volunteering because someone asked them to help. 
  • 14% of volunteers in Scotland currently do so through their Employer Supported Volunteer time, with 57% of those surveyed unaware that some employers offered schemes.

So if you work from home, or need exercise, fresh air and good company on your local doorstep, look for your nearest growing group. They need YOU!

If you are a growing group and want support to extend your volunteer base, make contact we are here and happy to help.

 

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Growing peat free

The Forum’s recent response to the Scottish Governments consultation on the banning of the sale of peat highlighted a few key issues:

Many groups know the environmental impacts of peat use as a growing substrate and its pros and cons. However, many of us still associate peat with soil and are unaware of how it differs from the soil, its specific role in the horticultural industry and the enormous environmental impact of its continued extraction.

In some growing settings, the essential role of soil is integrated with an organised composting system. Growers use ‘homemade’ compost for much of their growing production and restrict the purchase of sterilised ‘weed-free’ growing substrate [peat or peat-free seed compost] for specific seeds. In other settings, bagged compost, peat or otherwise, is still widely used. In our experience across Scotland, peat use is mixed, and those still using peat mainly do so because of a lack of knowledge and confidence about the soil, decent peat-free alternatives and affordability. Switching to peat free may not resonate if addressing climate change is not seen as being in our control.

So, what can we do about it at a community level? Well, lots! For those of us growing local, irrespective of scale, we can protect and rebuild our soils, compost as much garden waste as possible, and try growing and sharing techniques for growing peat free with others.

If you’d like to know more about peat, read Garden Organics For Peat’s Sake campaign; for more about Soil, see our Grow pages, and if you’d like to start, upscale or shout about your peat-free growing to others, please get in touch with us!

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Grow 6

So many of us are interested in growing some of our own food these days. The multiple health benefits are now undisputed and well documented; it’s good to grow on any scale and increasingly important to rebuild good connections with food and nature. However, the growing bug can be hard to grasp if we don’t succeed the first time.  Grow 6 aims to build our food-growing confidence so anyone can grow something somewhere all year round across Scotland.

Follow Grow 6 for weekly growing updates here and other updates on social media here.

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Looking for Land?

Communities that access, secure, and cultivate the land for food
growing can grow, eat and share healthy food with people in their
local area. Through growing, they can connect, support, and build
community, care for the soil and environment, and take practical
action on our climate and nature emergencies. More and more
people across Scotland, from rural to urban settings, are ‘growing
local’ for sustenance, succour and sanity. Issues on food security and
sovereignty, cost of living and nutrition make these endeavours a vital
part of our lives, landscapes and local food systems.

Previously known as the Landowners’ Guide, The revised ‘Scotland Land Guide’ aims to support community groups, social entrepreneurs, landowners (public or private) and other potential enablers to understand the processes and practical steps involved in accessing land for growing. Find the Guide on our Land page.