We’re looking for Board members to help oversee REAP’s work and support our staff and volunteers. No previous Board experience is required. The Board meets about 8 times a year, refreshments and travel expenses are provided and as our current Chair Elizabeth says, “You get more out of it than you put in!”
We are looking for reliable people with an interest in any or all aspects of our work:
helping people grow their own food, compost more, cut food waste and carbon emissions
providing free and impartial energy advice to households in Moray
administering local community benefit funds
Working with community groups, carrying out research, developing our social enterprise and overseeing the business of being a local environmental charity
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please get in touch to arrange an informal chat by calling 01542 888070 or emailing email@example.com You are welcome to come and visit our office, some of the places we work and meet the Board without making any commitment.
As promised, here’s an update on the amazing range of activities that Dorothy has been up to over the first months of this project. Where to start…?
I have had the pleasure of helping Dorothy out the two bimonthly volunteer days at Cooper Park, we’ve hosted so far. People can just pop along and help us maintain the splendid stone edible beds. You can come along and sow some seeds, learn about propagating, planting out, seed saving and, of course, eat and take home the delights on offer. These have included strawberries, blackcurrants, peas and salad leaves so far! A great place to meet others with similar interests. The next one is Saturday 7th October, 10.30am – 12.30pm.
And just last week I joined Dorothy down at the Gardenshare, to lend a wee hand for one session of her popular two-part gardening courses, which was a lot of fun. We learnt all sorts about composting, which included how to make nettle and comfrey liquid feed ‘teas’ – easy-peasy! You can can dilute these in your watering can to give your plants lots of nitrogen (nettle) and potassium (comfrey) as well as other minerals, great for leaf/stem growth and root/fruit growth, respectively. We propagated herbs from cuttings, saved some seeds, ate some edible flowers, made a fresh rosemary, thyme, calendula and lavender tea (rather zingy!), ate a freshly harvested salad and made some fresh juice using our new cute portable juicer – you can just taste the healthiness..mm. And that was all in one session…Check the website posts and posters for more details of the third round of these, in September – book soon!
I enjoyed covering for Dorothy on her electric bike tours round Elgin (when she recently took a well-earnt holiday), picking up food waste and dropping it off at one of our community composting hot-spots around the city. We’re always looking for more businesses and organisations to donate their fruit and veg peel, tea bags, coffee grounds and shredded paper for us to collect – and all to make lovely compost to then grow food here in Elgin! Contact us if you’re interested.
But that is just the tip of her iceberg, in June Dorothy hosted a wee Eco-Gathering at the Gardenshare where a monster salad was harvested; Elgin’s first Big Lunch with a selection of her home-made soups from locally grown veg; and a stall at Moray Resource Centre with other home-made treats like beetroot hummus and garlic bread, using produce from their beds. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry just writing this!
And she’s been busy raising awareness of the importance of bees, seed saving and composting with the wee ones at West End Primary and heading off with Greenwards Primary into the trees at The Wards, finding food for free and ID’ing trees. What fun we have!
A great chance to come along and learn or develop your gardening skills and its FREE!!
2 Part course, Wednesday 20th September & Wednesday 27th September, 12.30pm-2.00pm at Cooper Park, Elgin.
This course has a limited number of places.
To book a place please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office 01542 888070
Our Community Energy Champions, Lynne and Barney are hitting the road again, this time at Mortlach Primary School, Dufftown. Join them making FREE solar powered ovens and get lots of tips and advice about saving energy and how to become an Energy Champion!!
Hello there, Barney Thompson here, I’m back in the blog-writing seat, as one of the two Outreach Workers on phase three of this exciting project, aka Grow Elgin and Beyond; the other being the Community Gardening Queen of Moray, nay, Scotland surely (the world even?) – the inimitable Dorothy Allan. It has been a pleasure to get back involved with this particular project, even though I must offer my apologies for the tardy first installment of the blog – what can I say, we have just been so darn busy getting things rolling…
A lot has been going on and in this first blog I’ll report on what I’ve been up to; hot on its heels I’ll post a second blog letting you know all the splendid things that Dorothy’s been doing.
This year we have a focus on therapeutic gardening and a major part of this is developing food growing activities at Maryhill Health Centre. People can get referred by their GP or other health care professional to come join us in building the garden and growing tasty fruit and veg. Us REAP folks are well aware of the many ways in which doing this can be good for the soul – and one’s mental and physical health well-being – and we look forward to others seeing the benefit by joining in. I have been busy preparing a design for the garden, which we recently displayed at the surgery for everyone’s feedback – activities start next week!
AYP’s freshly planted bed
I’ve been doing sessions with many of the other groups I work with. Two Friday evening sessions at Elgin Youth Cafe as part of their summer programme proved lots of fun. Thanks to the hard work of the young people, there are now four new raised beds in their backyard space, sowed and planted up with french beans, peas, brassicas, pumpkins and various salads, to name but a few. Over at Aberlour Youth Point, the young people and staff have been really proactive in planning what they’d like in order to reinvigorate their garden – a couple of sessions there have resulted in lots of weeding with a wide variety of brassicas going in – such as purple sprouting broccoli, various kales and Brussel Sprouts – with various faster growing salads sown in between for a quicker harvest without being shaded out. We refreshed ourselves with freshly picked strawberries and blackcurrants – mmm…
And time spent with the mums and much tinier ones at a couple of summer sessions (one of which was put on by our friends at Earthtime) at Step-by-Step’s new home at Winchester House proved equally rewarding. We ate a local lunch of broad bean pate to give us strength to blitz some weeding (my, were they quick…) and planted out and sowed a good variety of veggies. As well as collecting poppies for their seeds, I left the workers armed with various veg and salad seeds for more sowing and am looking forward to going back soon to see progress and to put all the ready compost from their bin (collected by the previous occupants, Action for Children) into one of the beds, ready for sowing – truly closing the loop! Talking of composting, the youngsters at Seafield Primary had a fun afternoon totally revamping their composting system and looking for beasties, along with some tidying and planting, but I suspect their most favourite part was eating the freshly harvested strawberries.
The elder folk of Moray have been involved too – we had a lovely time at Gurness Day Centre doing some indoor planting up of containers and tattie bags, finishing off with a delicious fresh herbal tea tasting session – lavender, calendula, rosemary and sage makes for a tasty blend. I’m looking forward to tasting the rhubarb chutney they made on another occasion…
And I’ve been on the road with colleagues at a couple of summer events, promoting the project, giving away seeds and other freebies and putting on some workshops – lots of fun!
So it really has been a summer of working with people of all ages – fantastic to connect with you all!
Would you and the bairns like to make a super-quick and easy DIY solar oven – which uses only the power of the sun to heat food? What about taking part in other fun crafting activities relating to home energy use, whilst having a blether about how to save cash on your fuel bills?
Well then, come along to our free Summer Scorcher roadshows:
Elgin – outside the library entrance, on Tuesday 18th July 3pm – 4.30pm;
Buckie – outside the library entrance, on Tuesday 1st August 3pm – 4.30pm.
There will be a marquee to keep dry just in case it isn’t a scorching day. Just drop in whenever – no need to book. It’s all free!
These sessions are part of REAP’s Community Energy Champions project; this also includes putting on free training to up-skill people in being more savvy about their home energy use, so they can pass their knowledge on to family, friends and neighbours. We’re now on the look-out for budding Energy Champions too – could it be you?
For further information about the event or our project please contact the REAP team on email@example.com or 01542 888071.
REAP have just published a new report into therapeutic gardening in Moray, funded by the Moray Integrated Care Fund Small Grants. Looking at research findings from organisations such as Trellis and others, it collates desk top research on the benefits of this type of growing activity, some of the barriers to expansion, and some suggestions for overcoming them, plus the operating framework in Moray. Primary research is presented from work with local organisations and individuals, and highlights case studies and good practice locally, with suggestions for accessing funding to make ideas a reality.
“We hope this report will give a good start to the many groups we spoke to who are hoping to expand this type of activity in Moray”, said REAP Manager Ann Davidson. “There is no doubt that this is a growing area (excuse the pun!) with many organisations realising the benefits therapeutic gardening can bring to people they work with, and wanting to expand their services. We hope this report will help that process”.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
We’ve worked with a variety of groups on a variety of activities, indoor and out this month, getting outdoors while we still can! We helped Spynie carehome build a herb spiral using recycled bricks in one of their courtyard gardens, where the herbs will not only be easily accessible for picking but the herb spiral can also be seen and appreciated from indoor seating areas. Once the plants have established the care home’s kitchen staff will be able to pop out to harvest fresh organic herbs with zero food miles! One of the carers mentioned she might like to make one in her own garden. Have a look at our website at http://www.reapscotland.org.uk/downloads/?did=116 for instructions to make your own herb spiral.
With young people at Elgin Youth Café we made Christmas crafts with local plant materials including decorative and aromatic lavender pouches and Santa decorations using local pine cones, which they can use to raise funds at Christmas fairs.
New Elgin primary school’s edible garden is coming on apace. We’ve now helped them build and install six metre-square raised beds, planted and sown with onions, garlic and winter salads like ‘Green in Snow’, Sessantina and Red Mustard. As well a compost bin for garden waste the P4/5 class now also have some new outdoor pets to look after in their newly installed wormery! The wormery will be able to process some of the children’s food waste from snack times and from the staff room (which would not go in their compost bin) to make nourishing worm-cast compost for their vegetable beds. The children now know all about what goes in their different composting systems and will be doing their bit to recycle compostable waste on site at their school.
tsi Moray organised an indoor pop-up market for social enterprise groups on the last Saturday of the month. Having our stall there was a good opportunity to spread the word about the Grow Elgin project and REAP’s other projects, our upcoming events and where people can harvest local veg and herbs. We had some hand-crafted stocking fillers and decorations for sale made from local plants, and made Christmas stars from willow withies with passing children. We also ran two herb tours around the nearby High Street herb planters, encouraging people to harvest local food.
November is also a good time for planting trees and we’ve been busy adding fruit trees and bushes to the gardens where we’ve helped set up raised beds. At ENABLE we planted an apple and a plum tree, and a couple of currant bushes with staff and service users, and also harvested a couple of turnips for the service users to take home – their lettuces were still going strong too!
At West End Primary School we spent a fruit-themed afternoon with their P6 class planting a small orchard of apple, pear and plum trees interspersed with red and black currant and gooseberry bushes. The pupils got stuck in with all aspects of tree planting, digging the holes as well as fitting tree guards around the trunks and stakes to support the young trees and mulching around the bases. ‘It was a whole new learning curve for me, planting a tree.’ commented James, one of the P6 pupils. The fruit trees planted were all varieties which grow well in the north of Scotland, including an apple variety called ‘Beauty of Moray’.
The pupils also had a chance to press locally grown apples by hand using a traditional apple crusher or ‘scratter’ and press and sample the delicious freshly pressed apple juice. The children learned that growing and making food locally reduces CO2 emissions, and so the impact of climate change. ‘I loved planting a tree. I think more people should start planting things like trees, fruit bushes and food. Let’s save the planet!’ said Hayley, one of the P6 pupils involved.