Other Growing Groups and Courses

November 2018

Grow Forth - Forth Environment Link

Grow Forth is a growing and local food project of  Forth Environment Link, based in Stirling.     From their website:

Food and Growing at Forth Environment Link

Grow Forth is the local food network for the Forth Valley area. We help connect and support communities and local food businesses to grow, source, cook and eat local food. FEL currently has 2 active Food & Growing projects:

  • Stirling Food Hub
  • Dig In Falkirk

Our Stirling Food Hub project is currently funded by the Climate Challenge Fund administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful. We are working with our local communities, schools and food businesses; this project aims to help strengthen the relationship between farm and fork. Understanding that relationship and how it can benefit us all now and in the future is a key aspect of the Stirling Food Hub project.

We want to see local food linked to every aspect of community life. Food is our past, our present and our future and this project celebrates and promotes local food and its place in our lives.

Stirling Food Hub is based down at the Stirling Cycle Hub. We run a variety of different food based activities - look at our events calendar to find out what’s on. We are at the Stirling Cycle Hub on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, including our Stirling Food Assembly every Thursday from 4.30pm-6.30pm.

If you would like to know more about our Stirling Food Hub contact donna@forthenvironmentlink.org or call 01786 449215

The Food and Growing team are also working in Falkirk on a project called “Dig In Falkirk”.  This initiative is part of a two year project run by Falkirk Council, Falkirk Delivers and Forth Environment Link which aims to encourage more community growing projects across the Falkirk Council area.

If you would like to know more about our Food and Growing work contact emily@forthenvironmentlink.org or call 01786 449 215

Forth Environment link won a Rural Innovators Award this year at the Scottish Rural Parliament - https://www.sra.scot/ria-winners/

FEL website
     http://www.forthenvironmentlink.org/     (currently being upgraded)

Stirling Food Hub

Stirling online market


November 2018

'Pocket Orchards' in Wester Ross

Former TBI director John Wood writes from Altbea

"The Wester Ross Growing Communities Association is a new, unincorporated association I have established to take the Pocket Orchards project forward.  

"The Pocket Orchards are groups of community fruit trees planted on various sites within walking access of the villages.  The trees will provide spring blossom, free autumn fruit, and biodiversity and climate change benefits.  They will help to enhance tree cover in this very depleted landscape. 

"It started in spring 2017 when three of us got together and bought 8 trees which we planted in Aultbea.  I also planted an apple tree which I am fan training on the end wall of my cafe.  Last winter I ran an online fundraiser which enabled us to buy a further 12 trees which we planted on two sites - in Laide Community Wood and on the NTS estate at Inverewe.  

"The project seems to have plenty of support locally and we have an active Facebook group.  3 more people have either donated or promised trees.  The Woodland Trust and the Conservation Volunteers have both donated native (mainly fruit or nut bearing) trees which we’ll use as windbreaks or for very exposed sites.  There have been lots of offers of help and sites and we now have 3 local schools and the residential home at Aultbea involved.  I am currently fundraising for more fruit trees to plant this winter.  

"I am in contact with Sue Pomeroy, who carried out the orchard survey here and she is very supportive.  As are the Highland Council’s Ward manager, at least two community councils, the NTS, Woodland Trust, Wester Ross Biosphere, etc.

"People ask about future tree care, but actually I am not too worried about that.  At the moment there are plenty of volunteers, but even if they all fall away, and the trees get neglected, they should continue to provide environmental benefits for many years.  Planting them in small groups across a variety of sites should also give the  project good resilience against damage.

"The dispersed nature of the planting reflects the dispersed crofting settlement pattern here ... and because we are planting on publicly managed land with approval we are avoiding possibly expensive legal battles.  

"Anyway, I hope that over the next 5 years we will make a major difference here by creating a community resource everyone - and visitors too - can benefit from.  

"Watch Wester Ross start to blossom!  "


Plants with Purpose  and  Appletree Man

November 2018.   Andrew Lear,  who runs the above business at Bankfoot, has sent a long email newsletter.  Andrew writes

"What a summer we had - and what a year for fruit!  Whilst it was very dry (we did have rain on June 23rd - which saved the trees), the high temperatures and sunshine levels kept the developing apples and other fruit expanding endlessly (we've seen Howgate Wonder apples the size of small pumpkins and perfectly carve-able) and turning an unexpected bright red in many cases.

"All my trees produced fruit this year, which gave me a good opportunity to check the labels!  A reminder of the perennial problem of keeping labels intact and having good records!

"The warm sunny weather continued into early autumn (apart from the predicted diversion into torrential rain on our open day in August), and fruit and vegetables from the garden remained abundant.  It seems strange now to be back to eating kale and winter vegetables after being spoiled for choice for so long, but the freezers and pantry are full, and no-one's complaining".

.   .   .   .   .   .   .

Read the newsletter .


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 .


MOO Food   Muir of Ord

March 2018         News update    from Emma Whitham

Earlier this year MOO Food planted a 50 tree community orchard in Muir of Ord, with a selection of trees, including varieties of apple, pear, cherry, plum and hazel.  Tarradale Primary School pupils worked with MOO Food volunteers to plant trees along with Cllr Angela Maclean and over 30 volunteers from the community.  The community are very keen to be involved and I have been overwhelmed by the amount of offers of help and folks generosity.

Our community fridge will be launched at the end of the month with an official opening day on Saturday 31st March at 2pm.  During term time Tarradale Primary School pupils will look after the fridge Monday to Friday ensuring it is clean and presentable.  Anyone interested in helping clean the fridge at weekends or during school holidays should contact Emma Whitham to discuss volunteering opportunities.

We received some brilliant news recently that our ‘Growing Our Future’ behaviour change project will be funded by the Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund for two years.  This means we can recruit three members of staff to implement the project.  We are currently recruiting, the 16th March 2018 is the closing date.  For more information please contact Emma Whitham.

We are having our first AGM on Monday 26th March 1900 at the Muir Hub so if yo would like to get involved with MOO Food, please come along.

Please visit our website www.moofood.org or our Facebook page to keep up to date with our news.

If you have any questions please contact Emma at emma@moofood.org

Emma Whitham.

(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

MOO Food wins Carbon Clever funding.   Emma Whitham emailed on 9 October

Just found out we have been awarded £9990 from the Highland Council Carbon Clever Fund for phase 1 of MOO Incredible Edible project.  This means will be progressing with community fridge, orchard and growing boxes.

In an earlier email Emma had outlined the project for which MOO were seeking funding

MOO Food is very much in its infancy, although we are building momentum. By the end of this week we will find out whether or not we have been awarded money from the Highland Council Carbon Clever fund to support our MOO Incredible Edible project.  The purpose of this project is to create and maintain community food growing spaces within Muir of Ord, including an orchard and growing spaces for the benefit of local people and wildlife. If awarded this money we propose to plant an orchard (along with pupils from Tarradale Primary School) on 17th Nov as part of Muir of Ord’s first Apple Day event.

We will also install 50 growing boxes throughout the village that will be used to grow vegetables for everyone to harvest and enjoy. This fund will also be used to purchase our Community Fridge.  All will be supported and maintained by MOO Food volunteers.  This will be our first project, which fills us with much excitement.

MOO Food has also applied to the Climate Challenge Fund for funding for a more ambitious project called  'Growing our Future'.  View the project summary .

After the end of October MOO Food will have a website at  www.moofood.org

Meanwhile catch up with them on  Facebook  or email Emma at  MOOFood@mail.com


The Seed Co-operative        

From their website at        https://www.seedcooperative.org.uk/

The Seed Co-operative has come into being as an initiative of the Biodynamic Association, supported by Garden Organic and the Organic Research Centre, working with Open Pollinated Seeds and experienced seedsman Hans Steenbergen.

Although initiated by the Biodynamic Association, for the Seed Co-operative to be a success a wide collaboration of people will need to be involved.  Farmers, growers, home gardeners, chefs, professionals and amateurs, everyone involved in building a resilient food system, will be able to benefit through access to seeds, advice and training from the Seed Co-operative.

The future of farming, by default, lies in the hands of younger generations.  After many years that have seen the average age of a UK farmer increasing towards retirement age, new blood is coming in to farming.  Many young people entering farming have not inherited their farms and are starting small, often in social enterprises or Community Supported Agriculture.  Although the economics need to be proven it is hoped that seed growing might provide another enterprise for small farms.

The Seed Co-operative were finalists in the Future Food category at the September 2017 BBC Food and Farming awards, and celebrate this achievement on their website and in their September newsletter .



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