Run by charity Tullibody Healthy Living in Clackmannanshire, the community garden is cultivated by a group of volunteers who gain valuable horticultural skills as well as producing fruit and veg for sale at a realistic price, which encourages local people to buy it and create fresh, healthy dishes.
Our Scotland team have been supporting the Tullibody group from the beginning, talking through the process of getting a garden up and running and linking the group up with similar projects which could share their experience and knowledge.
Sarah Watts, the Tullibody community gardener, said: “All the core volunteers are unemployed. They bring a wide range of skills; some with no vegetable gardening experience at all; others with lots of experience as amateurs and professional gardeners. I’m overawed at how talented and able they are. Volunteering has helped them in a number of ways - it’s boosted their confidence, got them out of the house and obviously its keeping them physically active! It’s also been a great opportunity for everyone to use their knowledge and skills.”
SF&G (previously FCFCG) became involved with the garden when the steering group were looking to develop their ideas in order to apply for funding from the Climate Challenge fund. The group were awarded £150,450 from the fund to set up the garden, which helped pay for Sarah to act as community gardener for a year.
Sarah said: “FCFCG has been great. One of the most useful things was being able to post questions for other groups in the Scotland e-newsletter. We posted a query about polytunnels and a few people replied, including our local prison garden. As a consequence of that we linked up and the prison garden workers spent the winter repurposing donated tools for us to use in the garden.”
The garden has been engaging with the community in other ways, taking the growing message off-site and into schools and homes. It received funding for some orchard trees which have been planted at four local primary schools and a family centre and will be cared for by garden volunteers, and got art students at the local secondary school to take part in a competition to design a logo for the garden. It has also given out ‘grow your own potatoes’ packs so that people can get growing in their own gardens.
Green Isle Growers, based in Machynlleth in Mid Wales, is thriving with help from Social Farms & Gardens (previously Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens), which has given funding advice, held a visioning session for future growth and arranged a site visit to another SF&G member.
Scotswood Garden works with nature to create a great place for people and wildlife to enjoy. The garden is about community, whether in Scotswood and Benwell or the wider area, and they welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in the work.