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Gardening course / workshops at Black Isle Brewery market garden, Allangrange
2023 WORKSHOP TIMETABLE AND INFORMATION
Vegetables for All Seasons – Join our Head Gardener Alexander who has over 20 years’ experience of Organic growing as he teaches you all you need to know to produce your own fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. Learn how to plan your garden to suit your needs, how to care for your crops, right through to the best way to harvest and preserve your produce to provide yourself with the best quality food all year round, all while increasing local biodiversity.
Workshops are 10am – 2.30pm, meet in the lecture room, organic tea, coffee, cake provided, and a basket of fresh produce when available. Please bring weatherproof clothing and a packed lunch if required.
£350 for the whole course. In order to make our courses accessible to as many people as possible we are implementing a sliding scale pricing structure of £35, £45 and £55 for those who wish to pay for individual workshops. We are grateful to those who choose to pay the higher charge to help make this possible.
9 February Fruit tree pruning
Details and booking
9 March Planning your vegetable garden
Details and booking
6 April Seed sowing and Compost making
4 May Pricking out, potting on and planting out
18 May Perfect tomatoes, indoor growing, companion planting
8 June Watering, weeding, pest control
6 July Harvesting, successional sowing, maintaining summer crops
10 August Second season - plan and sow for autumn/winter
7 September Harvest festival - storing and preserving your produce
9 November Laying the ground for next year - no-dig
(dates are all Thursdays)
In addition to the series Alexander is also running:
12 October – Introduction to Biodynamics, working with the rhythms of nature
This year we are also offering workshops by visiting master craftsmen and craftswomen to teach sustainable rural skills.
11-12 March Dry-stone dyking with Brian Wilson - £150
Details and booking
21 September Seed saving with Finley and Hayley of Seeds of Scotland £TBC
19-20 October TBC - Basket making with Tim Palmer - TBC
30 November Wreath making with JJ Gladwin - £45
Nourish Scotland January newsletter
This newsletter announces the forthcoming publication of the report of Nourish's 'Right to Food' project - 'The project worked with government agencies and community members to define a diet that is healthy enough, enjoyable and a good fit for people's lives.' It also reports on highlights of the Oxford Real Farming Conference - 'the largest agroecological gathering on the planet.'
See the Events calendar for details and booking links.
Report on Community growing space
The Scottish Parliament's Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee chaired by Highland Green MSP Ariane Burgess, has recently conducted an in-depth enquiry into the availability of allotments and other land for community growing in the light of Part 9 of the Community Empowerment Act of 2015. These are their conclusions
The Committee's inquiry has highlighted many of the positive developments made since the Community Empowerment Act came into force, but the overwhelming message from witnesses and the evidence received is that there are nonetheless significant and growing waiting lists for accessing allotments and challenges to accessing land for growing. Many local authorities have not met the Act's requirements to prepare a Food Growing Strategy and don't have staff leading on allotments and growing.
The importance of access to green space and the benefits of growing is clear. It can quite literally empower communities and improve people's health and quality of life. But when resources are limited it is perhaps easy for local authorities' responsibilities under the Act to become a low priority.
The Committee believes though that it is more important now than ever that there is renewed effort to deliver on the intentions of the Act, led by the Scottish Government supporting local authorities. It would therefore welcome the Scottish Government's response to its recommendations made throughout this report.
'Unexpected Garden' in Alness - Dandelion and Feis Ross
On an industrial estate in Alness, something surprising is putting out new green shoots. Tucked in amongst concrete lots and corrugated buildings, discover salad leaves, herbs and flowers growing below the ribs of a polytunnel. This is The Field, a community garden created by arts organisation Fèis Rois, which provides opportunities for people of all ages to participate in traditional music, song and dance; youth group The Place and The Blooming Gardeners, a charity that gives adults with learning disabilities hands-on experience in horticulture.
Together, they’re using natural methods to grow regional foods to harvest, cook and share with both visitors and volunteers – whilst cultivating seeds to recreate the crop year-on-year. Come and visit to enjoy music workshops, concerts and meals made using the freshest possible ingredients. Discover broad beans from the Black Isle and tomatoes from Dingwall ripening in special, no-dig vegetable beds – where the soil is left to work its magic undisturbed. With seeds exchanged for produce and saved to share at the end of the season, it’s a kitchen garden designed to flourish far into the future.
A group of TBI members visited the garden on Sunday 24 July
Lead gardener Finlay Keiller talks about seed saving in the garden
Pea and bean tasting session in the polytunnel
Good Food Nation Bill passed unopposed
The Bill requires the Scottish Government and certain public bodies to create good food nation plans to support social and economic wellbeing, the environment, health, and economic development. According to the Scottish Government, these plans will help ensure good quality, locally sourced and produced food is a practical everyday reality for everyone.
World food crisis?
The spectre of a potentially catastrophic crisis in the world's food supply and distribution system has been raised in several recent articles.
'The coming food catastrophe'
The Economist 20 May 2022
'The banks collapsed in 2008 – and our food system is about to do the same'
George Monbiot The Guardian 19 May 2022
'The food crisis is what happens when global chains collapse'
Will Hutton The Observer 22 May 2022
May 2022 From Skye Climate Action newsletter
Community Food Growing
The Highland Council's Community Food Growing Strategy was published in February. To tackle inequalities, improve inclusion and respond to the climate emergency, the Strategy's vision is "By 2027 Highland communities are resilient, empowered and supported to grow their own food.
"The Strategy document gives examples of community growing across Highland, including edible villages, school projects, community orchards and community gardens, such as the Raasay Walled Garden. The Strategy seeks to support growers across Highland, improve access to land for community food growing, and help community groups and schools to set up projects on Council land and school grounds. There is an action plan, and the Council will try to source funds, land, connect people to groups, information and resources and help with things like tool libraries.
More information about how to start community food growing is in the Guidance Document.
The future of Food?
'The Economist' magazine's latest Technology Quarterly contains a number of articles on aspects of the future of food, including technologies for producing meat without animals and milk without cows, and urban 'vertical farms'.
Anyone looking for gardening advice appropriate to the Black Isle should buy a copy of TBI's 'Growing Guide' by Sheila Wickens, which can be obtained for £10 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can preview individual chapters of the Guide via the links on our TBI Growing Guide page.
- Saturday 4 February
- 13:00 Black Isle Repair Cafe North Kessock
- 17:30 Transition Town Forres - Imbolc fundraising event
- 18:30 Knocknagael Growing Group Ceilidh
- Monday 6 February
- 19:30 RCA Fergus McCreadie Trio at Resolis
- Wednesday 8 February
- 14:00 Black Isle Men's Shed AGM
- Thursday 9 February
- 10:00 Allangrange gardening workshop - Fruit tree pruning
- Saturday 11 February
- NA Cromarty Community Market
- Saturday 18 February
- 10:00 Culbokie Community Market
Events to add to calendar? Contact Us.
Add Your Business
Do you run a sustainable business on or near the Black Isle? Add it to the TBI business directory