Grow your own say green network

Locals in South Ayrshire are being encouraged to grow their own plants, fruit and vegetables in allotments, orchards or gardens this year to celebrate World Kitchen Garden Day on 26th August 2012.

Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN), is supporting the drive to increase the appetite of Scottish communities for home-grown produce.

Now in its tenth year, World Kitchen Garden Day provides the perfect opportunity for people across the globe to celebrate the many advantages of growing their own food. Kitchen gardening has a positive role to play in eating well, good health and encouraging people to get together in general, bringing many benefits to local communities.

Community growing, which takes kitchen gardening a step further and involves shared growing spaces, is central to the CSGN vision of creating an environment which supports healthy lifestyles and good mental and physical well-being.

Committed to improving the health and quality of life of the people in Central Scotland, the CSGN has pledged to significantly increase the area of land used by communities for growing plants, fruit and vegetables, such as allotments, orchards and gardens.

Since 2010, the CSGN has supported 13 growing and orchard projects through its Development Fund, awarding a total of £376,994, and creating significant societal benefits for the surrounding communities. The recent Scottish Government funding boost of £450,000 to the CSGN Development Fund is helping to support a further 16 community growing projects over the next three years. Many of the projects will bring previously unused and neglected land back into beneficial use.

Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Partnership Board, said: “World Kitchen Garden Day provides an excellent platform to raise awareness of the range of health, economic and environmental benefits of community growing for local communities in South Ayrshire and wider society.

“Community growing can lead to increased access to better nutrition in the face of rising supermarket prices; increased physical health through gardening; and improved community engagement at local and international levels around the universal experiences of gardening, cooking, and eating.”

Growing your own food can also positively impact on the local environment through a reduction in food mileage as participants reduce their fuel consumption and supermarkets face a reduced demand for products sourced from further afield.

The CSGN is one of the 14 national developments set out in the Scottish Government’s second National Planning Framework. With a wide ranging remit, far beyond just a ‘green initiative’, it aims to improve the social, physical, cultural and environmental health and well-being of Central Scotland, as well as assisting the area to meet the challenge of climate change.

Stretching from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west, to Fife and Lothians in the east, the CSGN encompasses 19 local authorities across 10,000 sq km and has the potential to benefit 3.5million people, equating to 70 per cent of Scotland’s population.

The overarching CSGN vision is that by 2050, Central Scotland will be transformed into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality.

For further information about the CSGN or community growing opportunities, please visit www.centralscotlandgreennetwork.org.