It’s been a while since the last Grow Elgin Blog, but that’s not to say we haven’t been busy! The good news is that we have secured funding for the Grow Elgin project for another year, which means more community gardens, more raised beds in schools, more home composting around Elgin and more gardening and composting courses. All this is encouraging more people young and old to grow their own healthy veggies, which will cut down on food miles and greenhouse gas emissions and help look after our lovely planet home.
So what have we been up to? Well, next time you’re strolling through Elgin town centre have a closer look at some of the planters around the High Street. Elgin invited us to adopt some of these planters, and because we are about growing food locally we’ve planted up eleven of these planters with herbs like parsley, marjoram, rosemary and mint, as well as strawberry plants and little black currant bushes. Once these plants get established and take over the planters we’ll be encouraging people to browse these plants and have a nibble. They’ll not just be nice to look at but will become part of an edible landscape around Elgin!
And whilst on the subject of an edible Elgin we ran a successful community event at the start of March planting small community orchard in Cooper Park. About 25 volunteers came along on the day to help us plant 12 young fruit trees which will be bearing home-grown apple and plums for local people to enjoy in a few years’ time. We also planted the 4 old rose beds with fruiting bushes and herbs for everyone to help themselves to as they pass through the park.
Last week we visited West End Primary School in Elgin. Their Eco club are very keen to grow their own food and compost stuff from the staff room. Having made some plans on paper for their new garden, they were soon outside enthusiastically putting together their new wormery, which will take the teabags and raw food scraps (apple cores etc.) from the staffroom. With a bit of guidance they were soon using electric screwdrivers to put together their raised beds, filling them with compost and planting some herbs and vegetable plants, whilst learning about how growing their own organic food will help make their own contribution to combating global warming. It was great to hear from the kids how many of them were already aware of some of these issues.
In a similar vein we have been establishing local raised beds for food growing at Spynie Hospital, and have we are just in the process of drawing up plans for a small edible garden for ENABLE’s day care centre for adults with special needs in Elgin. Watch this space!
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.
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?
Local expert Ludwig Appeltans of Earthways and guests will be teaching a full Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) over six weekends between April and August this year.
The course will be set in the beautiful grounds of Newbold House, Forres, where you’ll carry out a group design as well as benefit from teaching on a huge range of topics. You’ll come out with so many great ideas for designing your garden, allotment, community project or anything in life! And it ends with a Permaculture Festival…
Here at REAP we’re a big fan of Permaculture – based on sound ethics and learning from nature, you can design and implement sustainable and productive environments that yield you lots and for the minimum amount of work. Everyone’s a winner!
It looks like great value; full information can be found on the website here and the Facebook page is here.
I (Barney Thompson, REAP staff) learnt so much fascinating stuff and really developed my design skills (and the way I look at the world) on my PDC. I would wholeheartedly recommend studying one to anyone and also would certainly recommend Ludwig as a great person to take you on the journey.
[Images courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy, Graham Burnett and Bill Mollison]
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.”
All are welcome along to a talk on How to Grow Your Own Food – FREE in February. The talk will be hosted by Keith Library on 10th February from 3-4pm and delivered by our Dorothy, and on 18th February from 7-8pm in Cullen library by Ann.
For more information, contact Keith Library on 01542 882223 or Cullen library on 01542 841140. We’d love to see you there.