Nursing student and School of Health Sciences President, Brian Webster, gives an update on a community garden he founded last year
Back in August 2019, I wrote a blog post for OneDundee about the community garden I was starting up in the city. In the blog, it was early days for Fintry Community Garden and the group of volunteer members. Although things are still slow, we have come a long way since then.
In January, we held a very successful tree planting event in the garden, where 60 members of the community came along to plant some 400 trees we had donated from the Woodland Trust. The University’s student magazine, The Magdalen, had one of their writers attend and take part in the event and featured it in their March issue. We also featured on TV, on the channel That’s TV East Scotland, which you can watch here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a magnitude of change to everyone’s normal. Thankfully, community gardens, allotments and other growing projects could carry on functioning under strict restrictions, due to the Scottish Government recognising their efforts and contribution to food production and distribution. Surprisingly, we as a group have recruited more volunteers during the lockdown, with 4 new volunteers joining the team. This is perhaps due to more people appreciating the outdoors and greenspaces, something I talk about in my previous blog post mentioned above, as well as peoples drive to grow your own.
Earlier this month it was National Allotments Week, which the theme of was Growing Food for Wellbeing and I wrote a blog on the community garden website highlighting why this is beneficial to our health as people. We are starting to understand more as a community and society that there is something rewarding about planting a seed and in several months, harvesting a fruit or vegetable at the end. It gives us a sense of accomplishment, ownership and meaning. Of course, not everyone has the access to a space to do this, which is where community gardens such as ours come in.
We have just applied to the National Lottery for some funding in the hope we can look at purchasing a special type of polytunnel. This will be a massive asset to the garden and allow us to grow foods for longer periods of time, as after all we are not in the best climate. It will also allow us to grow foods that people might not have tried before, practically given we are in a significantly deprived area of the city and COVID-19 will only exacerbate this. The local church near us opened a new food larder in recognition and response of the acute and chronic effects COVID-19 has, and will have, on the area. It has been great to be able to collaborate with them, offering fresh vegetables from the Garden along with recipes to give people access and inspiration to eating locally grown, healthy fruit and vegetables.
If you are keen to find out more about Fintry Community Garden, or to get involved, have a look at our website or Facebook page, and check out Social Farms and Gardens on why community growing is excellent for physical, mental and social health.