Registrations closed at the end of March and we have been busy getting things moving since then. We are very happy to have 16 gardens on board for this year’s festival (we accepted a late-comer after publishing the news). See our News Release here for details.
As a teaser in the run up to the publication of our full programme in mid-May, we will be introducing the 16 participating gardens every few days over the next two weeks.
Last but certainly not least, we are delighted to introduce four very different community gardens: Milton Road Community Garden – run by Edinburgh College, Bridgend Farmhouse – which is part of the Bridgend Inspiring Growth community project, Granton Library Garden, and Calders Green Shoots – who are part of Wester Hailes Edible Estates.
Milton Road Community Garden
This is one of Edinburgh College’s two community gardens. It started as a student initiative in 2012, but is now managed by a garden coordinator appointed by the college to support the students and volunteers. The aim of this garden is to provide easy access to fresh fruit and veg for students, University staff, and members of the neighbouring community, in order to promote healthy lifestyles as well as creating an outdoor area for socialising. This garden is also used in curriculum activities and aims to be a welcoming space for students and the local community to learn about food sustainability, gain new skills and build self-confidence and self-esteem.
Bridgend Inspiring Growth is a community-led and -owned charitable organisation active in South Edinburgh. Their main focus is the renovation of Bridgend’s Farmhouse to develop it into a Centre for Learning, Exercise and Eating. While B.I.G. are not involved with food growing activities themselves – this is the focus activity of Bridgend Growing Communities – the two groups are very close and often work together. The renovation of the Farmhouse aims to create a community hub to host a variety of activities and services enabling people to live healthier, happier lives and have better relationships with the world around them. Read more about them here
Granton Library Garden
Granton Library Garden was opened in September 2015, as a sunny and inviting extension of the library. Local children, parents and community gardeners have worked together to decorate the outdoor space with murals and unique wooden ornaments, all of which has resulted in the creation of a welcoming hub of activity. The garden hosts storytelling sessions, arts and crafts workshops, and of course, community growing. The garden bloomed with flowers and vegetables in its first year, and the group have high hopes for another year of abundance.
Calders Green Shoots
The Wester Hales Edible Estates project was set up to encourage and support households in Wester Hailes to grow their own fruit and vegetables and cook healthy meals. The project uses the green space in council estates as a resource to enrich the lives of those who live there. Calders Green Shoots is the community food growing hub for the Calders estate. Established in 2014, the garden was largely built by local residents working together during community build workshops. The garden has approximately 40 starter growing beds, a shared tool shed and polytunnel. Read more about WHEE here
Our fourth batch of wonderful community food growing projects are The Royal Edinburgh Community Garden- run by the Cyrenians, Donkeyfield Orchard in Portobello, and North Edinburgh Arts.
Royal Edinburgh Community Garden.
The Royal Edinburgh Community Garden is run by the Cyrenians in partnership with NHS Lothian. It is a 3-acre community garden located within the hospital grounds. It was originally established as a pilot to a community based approach to improving health and wellbeing and promoting good nutrition and outdoor exercise; but it has grown into a very successful and dynamic community food growing hub. This garden welcomes people experiencing mental or physical health problems, disadvantage, isolation or poverty and it offers them fantastic opportunities to grow food, socialise and become more active. Read more about it here.
Donkeyfield Orchard in Portobello is the community’s first orchard, planted and worked by local people. The garden’s aim is to provide the Portobello community with a proportion of its own food, all grown in a sustainable, enjoyable and environmentally friendly way. Since 2010, volunteers at the orchard have planted around 90 fruiting trees, including apples, pears, plums and cherries. Members of the community also gather at monthly communal work days to lay paths, install furniture and maintain the site (not to mention their popular social events, including Halloween and Apple Day celebrations!) The garden is also committed to working with local schools, to equip young people with skills, a sense of ownership over the garden, and an appreciation for small scale growing.
Redhall Walled Garden
Redhall Walled Garden is run by the Scottish Association for Mental Health. It is a large,
beautiful 18th Century Walled Garden which offers training in horticulture, conservation, maintenance skills, ITC/admin and life skills for people with mental health problems
The third terrific trio of gardens were Gracemount Mansion Walled Garden, Newhaven Heritage Community Garden and Granton Community Orchard Garden.
Gracemount Mansion Walled Garden
This is one of the three gardens of Edinburgh Transition South’s “Grow Stronger” project. By growing food with members of the local communities, Grow Stronger aims to raise awareness about the benefits of eating local food. Families and individuals are welcome to join in to construct and maintain the common growing space. The garden is located in the former orchard of Gracemount House, now a Community Park that was recently renovated by the local community with support from the Council. Above the shruberies and the wall that enclose the garden, views of the Pentlands Hills give this place a beautiful atmosphere. Read more about Grow Stronger and Gracemount Walled Garden here.
Newhaven Heritage Community Garden
Newhaven Heritage Community Garden was established by the Newhaven Heritage Centre late last summer in order to bring together locals to take part in growing fresh produce. With a large offering of fresh vegetable, herbs and spring flowers Newhaven Community Garden draws in local children to enjoy its walkways and the changing plant life. In June Newhaven Community garden will be offering refreshments and live music for you to enjoy together.
Granton Community Orchard Garden
The Granton Community Orchard is still in its infancy, but it has already made huge headway in transforming an underused fly-tipping site into a beautiful haven for insects, birds, hedgehogs – and community food growers! In March of this year, the orchard held a week of tree planting days, in which apple, plum, cherry, hazel and almond trees were brought into the space. The gardeners at the orchard envision the garden providing the local community with organic produce, as well as providing a social and educational environment for the people of Granton (and beyond!) to enjoy together.
The second installment in our rundown of fabulous participating gardens introduced Craigie’s Education and Environmental project in South Queensferry, Fresh Start at Harrison Park and Friends of Starbank Park in Trinity.
Craigie’s Education and Environmental Project
Craigie’s Project focuses on utilizing local allotments and community gardens to encourage and support local food growing in their West Edinburgh home. With active participation from local volunteers and young people, Craigie’s works to promote health, wellbeing, and having positive environmental impact. Craigie’s provide and
promote volunteering opportunities in the community,encouraging outdoor and healthy activities as well as social interaction, community involvement and cohesion. For the 2016 Power of FoodFestival Craigie’s will be welcoming guests to join in on garden tours around their fruit tree orchards, polytunel, vegetable allotments and raised beds. They will also be offering cooking classes, workshops and folk music.
Fresh Start is an organisation that supports people who have struggled with homelessness, providing practical and emotional care to enable people to gain confidence, skills and community connections. As part of their work, they run The Food Station at Harrison Place, a space where participants can learn to grow fruits and vegetables, and then to cook delicious meals with the produce! Aside from the inherent benefits of working together to grow crops, volunteers also donate spare produce to local food banks. The Food Station aims to allow the people it works with to regain a sense of wellbeing, to face the future with positivity, and will be bringing this sunny attitude to the Power of Food Festival 2016!
Friends of Starbank Park
Starbank Park is a Victorian Formal garden next to the Firth of Forth. The Friends of Starbank Park are a community action group working with the City of Edinburgh Council to restore Starbank Park to its former glory. They are passionate about the park and welcome all to join the gardening sessions or to just visit and enjoy the beauty of the garden. As well as a multitude of colourful flowers and breathtaking views on he Forth, visitors can discover the Children’s nature trail dedicated to the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, and come June 18th, maybe pick delicious plums and cherries from the fruit trees planted by volunteers in 2014. Learn more about the Friends of Starbank Park and see the beautiful pictures of the Park here.
The first three gardens in the spotlight were The Grove based in Fountainbridge, New Caledonian Woodlands based in Inverleith Park, and the Edible Gardening project of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
The aim of The Grove Community Garden in Fountainbridge is to grow an active community as well as growing food. In 2013, the founders worked to transform an unused development site into a hub for growing activity, designing mobile pallet beds to allow the garden to be a flexible, reconfigurable space. An integral part of The Grove ethos is to practice gardening in a way that respects the environment and encourages biodiversity; to this end the garden has been constructed predominantly with recycled materials. The gardeners at The Grove mobile garden also look to share this approach with the local community by holding communal gardening sessions, where green-fingered neighbours can share good practices with each other.
New Caledonian Woodlands
New Caledonian Woodlands is a charity and social enterprise that works for the benefit of both people and planet, with the two main focuses of encouraging environmental sustainability and supporting mental health. Their ‘Green Hub Site’ in Inverleith is home to the Fruitful Woods where participants make and sell a range of environmentally sustainable produce – including apple juice, jams and chutneys, wooden spoons, spurtles and chopping boards, up cycled furniture and seasoned wood fuel.
Edible Gardening at RBGE
This project teaches gardening skills so that people can start growing their own vegetables and fruit. The Edible Gardening Project team welcomes people of all ages and skills to join in with their public events, there are regular advice drop-ins on Monday and Tuesday afternoons and weekend events throughout the year. The topics covered include vegetable varieties, sowing seeds, composting, pruning, harvesting, storing, and seasonal recipes. You can read more about the project on their blog here.