Government support for 'grow your own' on unused land

Unused land owned by government bodies could soon be turned into community spaces for "grow your own" projects throughout Scotland, if plans are approved.

The Scottish Government is in talks with various organisations, including Greenspace Scotland, the HTA and the Scottish Allotments Association, to develop an initiative to transform disused land into public community gardens and allotments.

Growforth managing director and HTA board member Stan Green is part of the government subgroup of the existing Green for Life forum, which recently met to discuss the proposals.

He said: "The Scottish Government is interested in getting feedback from a raft of people from different organisations for policy and discussions on 'grow your own' projects, with community spaces specifically in mind.

"It is an encouragement by the Scottish Government to release land held by government bodies for community use, but it has to be taken into context with planning regulations, so they are also looking at the planning system."

He added that a range of people were already involved: "We have Elmwood College involved in looking at the provision of training for 'grow your own' and allotments, and the Lothian Health Board has been recounting its experience of finding space for green initiatives.

"The biggest problem with planning is getting the local authorities singing from the same hymn sheet. 'Grow your own' fuzzes the boundaries because it is domestic.

"There's speculation that it is plateauing because people are finding that there's a bit more to it. But there's still a long way to go and it is huge compared to what it used to be."

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