The story so far: Land gifted to St Mary’s Church in the 1930s for the purpose of food growing and cultivated for many years as a market garden is once again under cultivation as a thriving community garden. The one-acre site tucked away in the centre of Kirriemuir has become a key area of local action for Sustainable Kirriemuir- a community group established in 2019 with local food, climate and community at its heart.
Sustainable Kirriemuir took on the land in 2020 with support from the church to develop the garden into an inclusive, nature-abundant haven with a focus on learning and sharing through local food production. The garden welcomes volunteers from all walks of life, facilitating sessions three times a week to grow fresh, affordable food for distribution throughout the town. Garden produce is sold directly from the gate and through the zero-waste shop at less than the market rate. It is also sometimes available through the local food hub. All volunteers are also encouraged to share in
the harvest, ensuring that everybody can access locally grown food regardless of income. Integral to the running of the garden is an ethos of collective ownership, collaboration and everyone taking part in a way that suits them. This year the garden hosted a Bio Blitz session to explore the gardens’ wide range of species from pollinators to fungi, lichens, and herpetofauna. They also welcome “young legs” by hosting rural skills school curriculum activities. In a relatively short time, the garden has become a cherished and well-supported part of Kirriemuir life.
Whose land: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Land agreement: ‘While a longer lease would enable better future planning and open up more funding opportunities, the church has a longstanding policy of committing to 3-year leases.’
Advice to others looking to secure land: “We’ve been extraordinarily lucky; we started with optimism
and ideas and little more. The community has rallied round and the team behind the vestry at St.
Mary’s Church has been very supportive of our goals: to grow good food in a biodiverse setting,
and to get that fresh produce into the community.”
More info on the Field and the wider work of Sustainable Kirriemuir can be found on their website.