Crowdfunding supports projects in Scotland designed to meet requirement for community food growing

A series of MyParkScotland crowdfunding projects are helping councils fulfil the need to boost food growing required under Scottish law.

The Elcho Gardens campaign aims to change 'hard lives, early deaths’ reputation
The Elcho Gardens campaign aims to change 'hard lives, early deaths’ reputation

The Scottish charity, set up by Greenspace Scotland and launched in 2015, has gathered together seven crowdfunding projects on its website into a theme, launched this week. MyParkScotland is promoting it on social media with the #myparkgrow hashtag.

MyParkScotland project manager Ian Goodman said: "The idea of the campaign is to highlight the range of projects that are looking to raise funds to support community growing.  We have a range of exciting projects from all over Scotland lined up under the growing theme and will keep adding projects during February."

In Scotland, the Community Empowerment Act requires all councils to prepare Food Growing Strategies and demand for limited allotment space remains high.

"Councils are looking for new ways to meet the increasing interest in grow your own and tackle the long allotment waiting lists," Goodman said. "Not everyone who wants to grow wants an allotment, and so people are developing new and innovative approaches to community growing.

"Some of the crowdfunds in this campaign are about new uses for parks and green spaces to meet 21st century needs and are involving wider range of community groups and volunteers, as well as bringing in funding from new sources."

Falkirk Council for example is looking to re-use green spaces in Falkirk Town Centre for community growing under the Dig in Falkirk crowdfund. It is also supporting Falkirk Community Trust projects on Falkirk Council park land for community demonstration farm, community growing working with Salvation Army veterans project.

In Glasgow, the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council is trying to improve health, well-being and life expectancy by transforming part of a car park at Elcho Gardens for community growing for its users.

On its campaign page, which has had £11,009 pledged of its £35,000 total so far, it says: "Calton is a great community with a rough reputation. It is known by the slogan ‘hard lives, early deaths’ because at one point the average male died at the age of 56. This is slowly improving but there is still a lot more we can do.

"Calton Heritage & Learning Centre has been trying to challenge the negative perceptions of Calton, to improve its reputation so that local people can feel better about the area where they live and contribute to its improvement. We know that access to green space has massive benefits on people’s physical and mental health and that well cared for green spaces make our environment look and feel better."

In 2011 Greenspace Scotland included questions about grow-your-own in its green space use and attitudes survey, which found that of the two-thirds of respondents who were not currently involved in growing, 26% wanted to grow their own vegetables. That amounted to around 800,000 people across urban Scotland.

When asked why they did not grow their own produce, 39% said the main barrier was that they did not have  a garden and 35% said they did not have enough time, while issues with availability of allotments were also a factor.

The charity worked with grassroots growing groups to produce its ‘Our Growing Community’ toolkit on matching spaces with different approaches to growing

MyParkScotland’s current growing projects can all be seen here . Goodman is keen to hear of more community growing projects in Scotland. To be part of the campaign email with your project idea.


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