Welcome to the Community Growing Project page. Each week we intend to give you a regular Thursday update on how projects are progressing. Some weeks there will be lots of activity, others not so much. If you have any questions - or have knowledge and skills you would like to bring to the project please do get in touch with the lead Directors or staff members via the button on the right!
Update 30th November 2023
Are you free on Sunday 14th January? Come and join our Sunday Social and get involved in our community growing project! You can read more here - Sunday Social at the Polycrub, Whitebridge
Update 2nd November 2023
Matt and Robbie are doing an amazing job in the polycrub!
Update 14th September 2023
Matt and Robbie have been busy working towards setting up the polycrub for use next spring. If you are part of a community group who would like growing space in here, or an individual who would like to be part of the community growing group, please contact email@example.com
Update 25th May 2023
Thank you to all the volunteers who came along to our work day last Sunday! It was a great day, with the team helping put the raised beds together, sowing seeds into trays and doing some clear-up work on the path and surrounds - and finished off with a generous supply of cake!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE SCHEDULED WORK DAY THIS SUNDAY HAS BEEN POSTPONED - we will share the next date in due course.
Update - 18th May 2023
We look forward to seeing you at our work day on Sunday - come along for a few minutes or a couple of hours and get involved!
Update - 11th May 2023
We have two work parties proposed for later this month - you can find out more here.
Update - 27th April 2023
Thank you to everyone who came along to the Growing Programme meeting on Tuesday - notes and actions will be shared here in due course.
Update - 21st April 2023
The next meeting for the Community Growing Programme will be on Tuesday 25th April at 5pm at the Wildside Centre Polycrub. All welcome to pop along and have a chat and get involved!
Update - 9th March 2023
We had our first meeting on Monday night - a great group of people met and we are about to kick start the project. We are taking delivery on the 17th March of the Polycrub and it will be installed soon after. We are looking to start growing produce once the beds are in, and we are working on plans for these. We can however start with getting the seeds in trays under cover and plan the bedding system, both inside and out! We are hoping to upcycle material from the slipway clear up plus utilising materials and skills from the group. All will be revealed.
The ethos is one of permaculture so that every approach we take can support our ecosystems in a self-sufficient and sustainable way. At the forefront is of course a way to provide a good source of environmentally sound, healthy, locally sourced food and make this, and the skills learned along the way, more readily available to local people.
We think it will be about social horticulture! We meet again post installation to plan the next stage, which I am sure will be the group swapping ideas and plans. The site is a beautiful spot close to the river. We aim to be able to provide excess produce into the community larder space at the Wildside as that develops. The benefits are huge, from well-being, nutrition, benefitting wildlife and our precious ecosystems, all of which are being thoughtfully considered by this dynamic group!
For more info get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
Update - 3rd March 2023
Community Growing Project
From plot to plates! We have secured funding from The Highland Council Regeneration Programme to help us create a community growing programme. The first Polycrub is going up at the Wildside Centre by the end of March (thank you Peter and Angus for setting out a great spot for us !) and we would love to hear from you if you are keen to be involved.
Sited by the river with storm strength construction to grow all year round produce and help toward securing our fresh food supply.
Meeting next week, in the evening at The Wildside Centre, TBC but get in touch if you are keen to get involved.
#communitygrowing #growingcommunity #sustainablefood #sustainablefoodsystems #foodpartnerships #polycrub
Update 24th February 2023
Community Growing Programme
This Spring we aim to kick start the Community Green Project which has started already with the Open Boot day which is held on the First Wednesday of the month from 11- 12.30. Our local crofters and producers can come along and bring their produce as a central collection point so that we can save on those expensive fuel costs into town. Nothing quite like buying local and supporting our local suppliers. Yes we are starting small, Jane from Lyne Mhor Croft has been coming along as well as Beth from Birchwood Croft and the ever popular Jinty’s Jams, we do anticipate that this will grow as we go.
This has coincided with our Warm Wednesdays and the start of the community pantry, plus Kirsty’s great scheme where you can take a warm coat from the rail and donate one if you have one spare. These are all things we aim to build on with a greener ethos at the core across all the work we do.
The next date will be Wednesday March 1st and then every first Wednesday of the month. We will keep you abreast with social media communications as well so you know when to come along.
Polycrubs - The Community Growing Programme
As you may know we have received Highland Council Funding for the siting of 2 polycrubs. These are storm strength growing spaces from a community company in the Shetlands and provide really solid indoor growing space to get growing our own. The site at the Wildside Centre, Whitebridge has been agreed on and will be situated by the river. Not only will we be starting a more resilient food production programme this will be a lovely, calm place where we can get the seeds in the ground, for all year round produce. We are going to create some wildflower areas and bug friendly hotels just outside the crubs too which the children will be getting involved in.
The aim is to have this up together by the end of March, with an additional site at Inverfarigaig.
If you are interested in being involved then do please get in touch, and thank you to those that already have. Contact Sarah at email@example.com and we will get a band of keen green fingers together.
Second hand Saturday?
Another plan is to hold a Second Hand Saturday if there was sufficient interest. At the Wildside Centre again as a table top sale. A great chance to pop along, grab a bargain and keep stuff out of landfill. £5 per table with tea and coffee available with sales from this going towards purchasing seeds for the growing programme.
A project has been established to start the supply of free (unseasoned ) firewood from March. Tony Foster has been sourcing this and a scheme is coming together so to find out more do please get in touch directly with firstname.lastname@example.org where there are plans afoot to store and secure a space for this.
All of these projects are at the heart of a greener vision in that we are better off if we don’t have to travel more than 20 minutes to access basic essential items. We all have to try to do our bit to limit any environmental impact and it's good to save money at the same time.
Update- 24th January 2023
A Community Growing Programme
Just before Christmas the Highland Council released details of a potential fund that we could apply for and picking up on the community chat to grow local produce, inspiration from other communities and a long chat with Green Party Councillor Chris Balance at one of the Wildside Markets, we decided to put in for a matched fund for the brilliantly, ethical and robust Polycrubs.
For those of you that know about them this is old news, however for those that don’t they are, to quote “Storm Strength from Shetland, a Polytunnel/greenhouse hybrid designed in Shetland and built to withstand high wind speeds and the harshest of climates.”
Images from https://www.polycrub.co.uk/
So what do we want to do?
We want to start a Community Growing Project, and we need help from the Community to get this started ready for Spring. Sustainability and food security is at the heart of this. We have secured funding from the Highland Council and with funds matched by the Trust we can provide a focus for community effort to increase the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce.
As a remote community we know how hard it is to get to the major shopping areas and for those who have difficulty travelling regularly to shops, by establishing a year round resource to grow our own the community growing project will promote healthy, active lifestyles and reach beyond the theme of food security. This all helps our area in cutting carbon emissions, reducing food waste and food miles and we can grow it ourselves!
So much better to have fresh and cheaper produce than heading out to the nearest town to buy fruit, veg and herbs and if it ends up anything like other communities we will end up with a glut we can pass onto others.
The aim is to site the Polycrubs at 3 key sites across the Stratherrick and Foyers area ( it should be noted that owing to the current planning for the Riverside field it wouldn’t be possible to consider siting this here for 6 months) but we want to link the growing project across the Strath and interact with each other to build a robust food growing resource.
We have funding for 3 Polycrubs and the sites will be Inverfarigaig, Whitebridge and Foyers to start. Like all things we can only do this with volunteer help, there will be a member of staff to coordinate and kick start the project and be there for the volunteers that want to get this thing growing!
Growing our own veg is just the start, I am sure this can develop into so much more than a growing space. The light is great, they don’t need heating and they can withstand everything our weather has to offer!
Please get in touch with email@example.com if you can spare some time and make this happen !
Thank you all and we would love to hear from you