March 9, 2011
Grow your own goes mainstream
The community sector has an active interest in most areas of Government policy. In drafting Scotland’s first National Food and Drink Policy, the Minister, Roseanna Cunningham was keen to include a section reflecting the recent surge of interest in growing your own food and community horticulture more generally. The report of the Grow Your Own Working Group is now out with recommendations that are both wide ranging and far reaching. Just one of the many challenges that awaits whoever wins the May elections
The Grow your Own Working Group Report (for full report click here) was sent to the Minister Roseanna Cunningham on February 14th . The members of the Working Group trust that she will endorse their recommendations.
The Working Group was set up by the Scottish Government to take forward that part of the Food and Drink Policy relating to growing your own food.
* Ensure that allotments and “grow your own” projects are strategically supported.
* Produce practical advice and best practice guidance that will appeal to public bodies, communities and individuals to help them develop local “grow your own” initiatives .
The Working group had a strong input from community growing initiatives – allotments, community gardens and orchards, together with involvement from the public agencies, local government, NGOs and the private sector. The report reflects the interests and concerns of a wide range of organisations. The initial remit of the working group was to produce the Report but the members have agreed to continue meeting to work on implementing the recommendations of the Report.
Recommendations from the working group
1 A Planning Conference to be staged involving senior planners from
Government, Local Authorities and Health Boards jointly with the
professional bodies to produce improved policies and guidance for GYO
2. Identify best practice food growing policies and practice from local authority
Open Space Strategies, and use this to encourage other local authorities to
support the protection of existing and establishment of new allotments and
community food growing projects.
3. The Working Group and all members to feed into consultation on Permitted
Development Rights (due spring 2011).
4. Promote the benefits of Grow Your Own to planning authorities, making them
aware of the need to identify locations and encourage their establishment to
meet community demand for growing spaces.
5. On land scheduled for development but delayed, planning policies to
dictate the “meanwhile use” of the land.
6. Local Authorities to use Section 75 Planning Agreements to support GYO
7. An amendment to the Allotments Act that specifies a timescale for allotment
provision and number of allotments per head of population.
8. A change to Public Finance Manual Rules that allows the Scottish
Government, its agencies, and government-related organisations to
lease or sell land at less than market value for local GYO initiatives.
9. GYO communities to make use of the Freedom of Information facility to ask
Local Authorities how they are dealing with meeting the duties imposed on
them by the Allotments (Scotland) Acts and disseminate this information.
10. Training in horticultural skills should be recognised by an awarding body
where appropriate and such training should be progressive i.e. each course is
certified and builds to higher qualifications.
11. Local Authorities should consider training needs as part of their
Allotment/Growing Space Strategy.
12. To review commonality across education bodies to set standards and offer
13. Bank of information and learning material to be held and managed by a
central organisation linked to the web site.
14. The establishment of a community land bank service developed to facilitate
access to land for GYO initiatives and provide specialist support to
landowners and food growers.
15. Government to instruct its agencies, Local Authorities, Health Boards,
government related organisations and other public sector bodies, to examine
their land assets and determine what surplus land will be made available for
local GYO initiatives and to publicise this information.
16. Public bodies to use the Forestry Commission Community Leasing Scheme
as an example of long term leasing of public land and other land for
establishing GYO projects.
17. Every local authority to produce a strategy for community growing that
establishes policy and planning. They will address the need to meet demand
with appropriate supply and agree land and management issues.
18. “Allotments, A Scottish Plotholders Guide” covers the basic culture of
allotment gardening and allotment law. Completed
19. Production of a landowners’ and land users’ guide, including development and
template leases, collating those that are available.
20. Production of a users’ and providers’ good practice guide on design and
development of new and existing allotment sites that links to the improved
21. Production of guidance on understanding soil contamination and how to grow
on contaminated land.
22. Encourage organisations to set up a central web site or develop existing site/s
to collect and disseminate information to the community GYO sector.
23. A travelling seminar to raise awareness at local authority level to identify and
promote the benefits of community growing.
24. Provision of a “Soft Loan” scheme such as a Community Credit Fund for GYO
25. Continual mapping of funding streams to be available on a central site.
26. Request that the administrators of funds are trained and briefed on the
needs and limitations of those applying for funds for GYO projects.
27. Request Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) management board to
consider funding needed (via the CSGN development fund and any future
funds) to deliver the CSGN target of a threefold increase in the area of
growing spaces in the CSGN area
Membership of group
John Beveridge Greenbelt Group Ltd
Peter Duncan Fife Council
Elaine Gibb greenspace scotland
Bill Gray Community Food and Health (Scotland)
Stan Green Growforth Ltd
John Hancox Commonwealth Orchards
Antonia Ineson NHS Lothians
David Jamieson City of Edinburgh Council
Sarah-Jane Laing Scottish Rural Property and Business Association
Eleanor Logan Soil Association and NOURISH
Jenny Mollison Scottish Allotments and Garden Society
Catriona Morrison Scottish Natural Heritage
Helen Pank Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens
Julie Proctor greenspace scotland
Heidi Proven Landshare (Keofilms)
Wayne Roberts Elmwood College
Mike Strachan Forestry Commission
Scott Walker National Farmers Union Scotland
Judy Wilkinson Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society
David Wood Planning Aid Scotland
Peter Wright Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society