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New local community benefit fund launches!

Edintore Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has launched! Applications are invited from groups, organisations and social enterprises for local projects with social or environmental benefits. To be eligible, groups must have a constitution (governing document) and a bank account in the group’s name with at least 2 unrelated signatories.

Priority will be given to applications that benefit people living within a 5 mile radius of Edintore Wind Farm (see map below). For more information, application forms and guidance notes are available on the Edintore page of the REAP website or from the REAP office. Forms can be emailed or posted out on request. 

The closing date for applications is 31st March 2017

Applications can be submitted to REAP at any time up to the deadline. At present it is expected that there will be 2 rounds of funding each year, in spring and autumn, but this may be subject to change.

If you’re not sure if your group or your idea is eligible, please get in touch via info@reapscotland.org.uk or by phoning 01542 888070. You are also welcome to come by the REAP office at 177 Mid Street in Keith, although it’s a good idea to phone ahead to ensure staff are there who can help you with your enquiry.

Primary Area of Benefit Map (click to view a larger image).

edintore-community-benefit-fund-area-of-benefit-map

Fruitful End to 2016 – December ’16 blog

sam_1416Fruit seems to be the main theme of the last few weeks of Grow Elgin’s work. We continued to supply and help plant fruit trees, a variety of apples, pears and plums,  and establish little orchards around Elgin. New Elgin Primary school planted half a dozen fruit trees in their school grounds, along with a similar number of currant and gooseberry fruit bushes. On the day we were due to plant the top layer of ground was frozen solid, yet when we postponed planting to the following day the temperature had risen by around 10 degrees and we could plant without a hitch! Moray Resource Centre also planted an apple and a pear tree, along with four fruit bushes within reach of paved paths so that they can be accessible to people with mobility problems. And in Cooper Park we had another community planting morning to add fruit trees to the orchard REAP and volunteers started last spring. A few days later youngsters from Earthtime’s outdoor nursery came along to plant a couple more trees there.  

Our apple press also had a couple more outings, and at the Elgin Youth Café they even used some of the apple pulp which usually gets composted to make muffins and soup. We’ve tidied up the High Street herb beds and the raised beds in Cooper Park for the winter with the help of a some volunteers who harvested more kale too. Indoors we’ve taken some plant related craft activities to groups at ENABLE and Elgin Youth Café, making festive, decorative and above all aromatic lavender pouches as well as Christmas decorations and birdfeeders from pinecones. 

d-at-stand-farmers-marketAnd finally Dorothy had a successful Grow Elgin stall at Elgin Academy’s Farmers market, ably assisted by Academy pupil volunteers. This was an exciting opportunity to talk to people as well as handing out information in leaflets about the veg and herbs being grown and available for harvest locally. There was selection of pick n mix seed packets to take away as well as decorative seed sticks and seed mats to encouraged people to go and grow their own. We made lots of new contacts of interested people and ran multiple sessions of our ‘Where in the World?’ activity, with both adults and children. This activity makes people aware of the great distances a lot of our food is transported, from far flung corners of the globe to Scotland where we could be growing  some of this ourselves and/or eating more seasonally cutting down on CO2  emissions and combatting climate change in the process.

Growing into Autumn

A bit of a bumper blog for September and October as we haven’t had an update for a while, though if you’d like to see regular shorter updates the Grow Elgin project has a weekly (usually!) post on our Facebook page.

Busy times for the Grow Elgin project as the balmy summer weather extended into September and a mild and colourful autumn.  We’ve continued our work with the ENABLE charity, returning to help them harvest leafy vegetables, some turnip thinnings and herbs. The taller planters are now in place too and we helped sow and plant them with winter  salads, late potatoes, onions and garlic to grow over the winter. The service users have been taking the fresh produce they helped grow home too and that means more fresh healthy local food being eaten and fewer food miles too. The compost bin is filling up too, with the veg scraps from the ENABLE kitchen,  the roughly chopped garden waste we gathered whilst harvesting and some shredder; we gave it a good water before putting the lid back on.

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Filling the compost bin.                                                      Parsley, mint,  spring onions, turnips, and  lettuce all                                                                                                           harvested from the ENABLE garden

We had a lovely sunlit day out at our Gardenshare allotment with groups from West End Primary school’s P1 class, learning all about the far flung places in the world our food comes from and then seeing how we can grow lots of it right here in Scotland and even on our doorstep. It was great to see the wee ones getting stuck into digging and weeding and planting and sowing on the REAP  community plot, and composting their play piece too. Hopefully they will return next spring to see what their gardening has grown into.

We also returned to St Sylvester’s Primary School, to plant and sow herbs and winter crops in their vegetable and herb beds, collect and save seeds, make mini-beast homes, and discover the potato crop which hadn’t been completely lifted! (see pictures below)

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We’ve been establishing a community garden including half a dozen raised beds at New Elgin Primary School too, with the help of Mrs Oakley’s  P4/5 class and the schools  Eco Group  building the 1m squared beds, filling them with peat free compost  and sowing winter veg in them, as well as planting and weeding  the herb garden.  We are looking forward to setting up a wormery and  planting up an orchard in the school grounds following the very detailed plans the group drew up.

The Elgin Youth Cafe wellbeing  group have been making Herb posies, pouches and teas using the herbs gathered from the Cooper Park raised beds and the planters in Elgin High street.  The herb planters now have QR codes on them so that anyone with a QR code reader on their smart phone can now find out all about the herbs and how to use them from a new page on our website.

We’ve also built a herb spiral with Action for Children’s  Krazy Kids Club, a fine 3D addition to their edible gardens. If you would like to make a similar one, it takes about 65-70 bricks to make and three bags of peat free compost to fill, and we have instructions you can download on our REAP web site.

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library-cafe-veg-delivery-from-cooper-park-raised-bedsDorothy and Paul, the Grow Elgin project workers, didn’t get any company on the bi-monthly weed-sow-harvest session at the Cooper Park raised beds, but then the rain was fairly chucking it down! Not to be put off though we weeded the beds and harvested about 1.5 kg of lettuce, kale and herbs each for Elgin Youth Café and the Moray Resource Centre. Dorothy had early harvested some salad and herbs for our friends in the Cobbs Café in the library too. Forget food miles, we’re talking food metres!

The raised beds we put in at the Moray Resource Centre are also thriving since we gave them some protection from the rabbits (!) and the three service users there who have taken on a bed have been learning to sow and plant a variety of winter veg including oriental winter salads, garlic and broad beans. They’ve also been learning about weeding and thinning, and harvested a small crop of radishes to take home.

dscn0123And finally we had a very successful Elgin Apple Day in Cooper Park at the end of October. Our apple scratter and press were kept going full time making  fresh local apple juice from apples brought by visitors from their own gardens, or from the bags of apples which had been donated from local gardens around the Keith and Elgin area and from Wester Hardmuir Farm near Nairn.  There was also a display of locally grown apple varieties from Pluscarden Abbey, apple dookin’, a longest peel competition, facepainting, plant-a-pip, apple trees for sale and Elgin Youth Café’s smoothy bikes. We had about 80 visitors during the three hours, and lots of enthusiastic and positive feedback, so hope to have another bigger and better Apple Day next year! 

Strathisla Pipe Band are the smartest!

Strathisla Pipe Ban Uniforms for website

 

 

Strathisla Pipe Band were the best turned out at Forres Highland Games. They successfully applied for funding to the Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund, which supports groups and organisations based in Keith, Boharm and Botriphnie. If you’d like to know more and find out if your organisation is eligible, please take a look at the community grants page or call the REAP office on 01542 888070. The next deadline for application is 26th August 2016 The decision making panel usually meet twice yearly to consider grant applications. Demand on the fund has been high this year so you may wish to check before applying. The next deadline is likely to be in spring 2017.

Raised beds

REAP’s raised bed video is now on the website here and available for viewing, with thanks to Christy Kail film and the Climate Challenge fund. The raised beds leaflet has been updated and is available for download as a pdf here.

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Grow Elgin 1 Climate Challenge Fund Report

The final report on year 1 of REAP’s Grow Elgin project is available here on the downloads page. It covers the events held, carbon saving targets hit, composting collected, raised bed parties held, community planting days, electric bike adventures and photos of just some of those who helped make it such a success. We are already underway with Grow Elgin 2, another year of saving carbon, doing our bit to combat climate change and spending time with brilliant people sowing, growing and celebrating local growing and composting.

Edible Garden in Cooper Park

Community planting day 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to all those who helped out at the planting day. We had a great time and now there will be fruit trees and herbs for years to come for everyone. Why not make a harvest of herbs as you pass through the park? Ultra low food miles, no plastic wrapping to go to landfill and as fresh as a daisy. What could be better?

Spring Planting in Elgin

Community Garden invite

 

No experience required – we’ll be on hand to help and can provide tools and gloves. If you’ve got green fingers come along too and share your expertise. We’d love to see you there – just let us know you’re coming so we’ve got enough cups of tea and tools.

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”