Other Growing Groups and Courses

July 2021

Update from Appletreeman

Andrew Lear emails

What a strange year it has been since Covid hit. Though all workshops and courses have paused, I have continued to be very busy in the field, and both 2020 and 2021 have been very hot summers. This has restricted my hours working in the open under the midday sun so I have genuinely become more European in my habits!

Blackhaugh Farm (where our nursery is located) is about to host the Scottish Scything Festival after taking a year out. The weather was perfect for a good turnout of scything enthusiasts last year and promises to be again.
Families of Whitethroats, Greenfinches and Yellowhammers bred and fledged around me this year and were a delight to see. It always amazes me how many birds enjoy having wee apple trees to firk about in! 

Read the full update



Black Isle Horticultural Society

April 2021

Growing vegetables for showing

Throughout this year’s series  The Beechgrove Garden is having a regular slot on their programmes - BBC Scotland 8pm Thursdays, repeated Sundays at 9am on BBC2 and of course on iPlayer - about growing veg for showing. The first programme, broadcast on 1st April, was about growing tatties for showing. Why not have a look, try their hints and tips and start with a few of your early potatoes.

The Black Isle Horticultural Show

to be held on 14th August 2021 in the Food and Craft Hall at the Black Isle Showground at Muir of Ord, is a local, friendly and (slightly) competitive show of produce by mainly Black Isle growers.  Although competitive most entrants are average gardeners and allotment holders and there are also classes for children and for novices.  You don’t need to grow ‘special’ veg for the show just reasonably good home grown, and there are also classes for fruit, flowers, house plants, baking, preserves, crafts and photography.  Here’s a link to the show schedule to have a look - BIHS Show Schedule – and do watch The Beechgrove Garden for timely hints not only for showing but for all your gardening.

You could also look at what the RHS says about growing for showing.

Setting up at the BIHS Summer Show

Graham Sullivan, Secretary, Black Isle Horticultural Society.
BIHS1955@gmail.com               01349 861991

BIHS      website              Facebook


Dunbar and District Local Good Food Alliance

MOO Food   Muir of Ord

September 2020   news update       Emma Whitham writes

MOO Food's edible village is really taking shape with the community orchard now in its third year and flourishing, the school garden now has its own orchard, growing boxes, jelly hedge row and poly tunnel, the village hall garden is bursting with life too with a herb garden and 5 growing boxes; throughout the village there are a further two pocket orchards and in total 25 grow boxes all containing seasonal vegetables and herbs for the whole community to enjoy.

The MOO Community fridge continues to be the main platform for sharing all surplus produce in the village, whether that be from local retailers, MOO Food growing spaces or community members.  Currently, monthly donations are ten times that of 2 years ago, which is resulting in significant carbon savings.

The MOO Food staff recently launched a new project - Scran Not Scraps.  This project is about reducing food waste and increasing carbon literacy.  The plan for the coming months is to launch a Zero Waste Kitchen campaign and a Casserole Club.  To keep up to date with all MOO Food activities please visit www.moofood.org

(Earlier information from Facebook,  October 2017)

MOO Food is a social enterprise based in Muir of Ord with a vision to create an inclusive hub for producing environmentally conscious food that sustains a healthy, empowered, low carbon community.

To inspire healthy, environmentally friendly living and give the Muir of Ord community opportunity to reduce carbon footprint and contribute to the production of affordable, chemical free food. Whilst providing hands-on learning opportunities and increasing social capital.

MOO Food Aims

  • to improve access to affordable, local, seasonal, chemical free fruit and vegetables.
  • to inspire healthy, sustainable, green living
  • to provide opportunities for the community to be active
  • to empower the community by increasing knowledge and confidence through delivering a suite of courses on growing fruit and veg, food preparation, nutrition, waste reduction and composting, and ongoing support
  • to increase social capital by bringing people together and facilitating sharing of knowledge and skills within the community and to prepare the younger generation for the future
  • to facilitate an organic waste collection service and community composting
  • to be inclusive


July 2020

The Scottish Food Coalition

The Scottish Food Coalition is a diverse alliance of civil society organisations working for food ​justice.  We believe there is strength in working collectively - though the individual organisations involved have different priorities, as a Coalition we believe no issue is more important than the others: from workers' right to wildlife loss, diet-related ill-health to food poverty, all of these challenges are urgent and can be solved more effectively by looking at the whole system.

We are campaigning for a new law on food, a Good Food Nation Bill, that takes a whole system approach. We want this bill to be a coherent framework that ensures the food system  contributes to everyone's health and wellbeing, values the work to put food on our plates, supports high animal welfare, sustains our wildlife, natural resources and environment for generations to come.

Scottish Food Coalition website


May 2020

Stirling Community Fridge

Stirling Community Fridge - Transition Stirling working in partnership with The Kitchen

From the SCCAN April 2020 newsletter

Together we can reduce food waste through the Community Fridge, by diverting the large volumes of good food which supermarkets would otherwise throw in the bin, and offering it to everyone in the community for free!
This project was part-funded by Stirling Council, with a focus on tackling food waste, but due to the consequences of coronavirus we have more work to do than expected: supermarkets have fewer outlets for the surplus food and, meantime, we've had over 100 people come to pick up food in a single day! We have 25 volunteers who are helping to pick up, set out, and help people coming in to pick up the food.  All physically distanced of course and using hand sanitiser supplied by Stirling Gin.


January 2020

Stirling Online Market

This was originally set up as Stirling Food Hub in 2016 by Forth Environment Link, who in January 2020 transferred the market to The Kitchen at 44, who now run it under the auspices of the national NeighbourFood network.  From the Stirling NeighbourFood website

Welcome to Stirling NeighbourFood hosted by The Kitchen at 44. Here you will find a variety of great products direct from quality farms and producers. Vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, dairy, real bread, preserves, cakes, small batch hand roasted coffee and lots more. Come and meet the producers and and enjoy a new way to eat well while supporting local agriculture and food producers.

Forth Environment Link founded Stirling's online market in 2016 because they believe this kind of food shopping connects community, local seasonal produce and the environment in a fun fair and sustainable way, thus giving a renewed appreciation of the real value of food to all aspects of life! In January 2020 Forth Environment handed over the running of the market to The Kitchen at 44 a community interest company with similar principals and ambitions. We hope you will enjoy your food more, and that connecting with its source will help prevent food waste and save food miles.

Stirling online market

Forth Environment Link website


November 2019

Transition Town Forres'  Community Garden

TTF have a page on their main website about their Community Garden, and the garden also has its own website, mainly intended for garden members and users.


Highland Seedlings,  Fearn

February 2021

Mairi MacPherson from Highland Seedlings offered a short talk and Q&A session about veg growing in the Scottish Highlands, on 13 February, but this online event is now fully booked.


August 2019

TBI recently received an email from Mairi MacPherson, explaining that she was formerly an academic at UHI but had to give up full-time work because of illness and now runs a small growing business in Fearn.  She writes

"I have 1/3 acre garden at home in Fearn and grow many veg, and we're trying to be as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible, but because of my health limitations there is only so much I can do.  I really want to help more folks grow their own and turn their unused grass spaces into food (in a no dig/permaculture way), and I've started to run workshops ever so often.  I also sell veg seedlings which folks can pick up either in person or order online and I ship them to them. There's more about this on my website, www.highlandseedlings.com.  I'd love to start a community garden here in Fearn or do stuff with the primary school, or work with community groups of some sort."

Mairi is interested in joining TBI as an Associate Member, and hopes that we might be able to to come up with ideas for projects, workshops or volunteering opportunities which would benefit both her enterprise and TBI members.  She adds that visitors to the garden are always welcome (location information on the website).  Her contact information is

Mairi MacPherson
Highland Seedlings
Oak Cottage, Hill of Fearn
Tain     IV20 1TJ


Main website              https://highlandseedlings.com/
Online shop               https://www.vegseedlings.co.uk/
(nothing available at the moment)


November 2018

'Pocket Orchards' in Wester Ross

Former TBI director John Wood and friends have been planting fruit trees in public spaces around the wester Ross villages.  Read more .


The Seed Co-operative        

Website         https://www.seedcooperative.org.uk/


GROW  Observatory

Toni has drawn attention to this European organisation.    From their website:

The GROW Observatory (GROW) is a European-wide project engaging thousands of growers, scientists and others passionate about the land. We will discover together, using simple tools to better manage soil and grow food, while contributing to vital scientific environmental monitoring.

Our vision is to support the emergence of a movement of citizens generating, sharing and using information on growing and the land.

This can lead to more sustainable land use practices, better soil and land governance and policy, and a unique data repository for science. Through this, people gain a voice on local issues and tailored advice on which new crops to plant, when to water, sow and harvest. In turn, their insight will underpin better-informed decision­-making and policy objectives, while improving soil, land use, climate change adaptation and our overall sustainability.

Visit the GROW  website .


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