PLANT's community garden project in Tayport goes ahead
On 15 July, Fife Council's North East Fife Planning Committee approved a planning application for change of use to a community garden of part of the open space behind Sandyhill Road, Tayport, close to the old curling pond. This is a partnership project between Tayport Community Trust's PLANT group and Fife Council's Allotments Officer, Peter Duncan.
The aim is to establish an inclusive community garden for people of all ages and levels of gardening experience, providing expert gardening information and training, while reducing carbon emissions caused by food miles and travel. In January this year, PLANT was delighted to be awarded £78, 453.80 to develop the Tayport Community Growing Space project in 2015-2016. The money was allocated by the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund (CCF), conditional on planning permission, so can now be released.
Two professional gardeners, Andrew and Teresa Widd, will be employed as part-time growing co-ordinators to work with PLANT's team of volunteers. They will help set up the garden and deliver a workshop programme as well as offer advice and support to plot holders, volunteers and home growers.
The garden will include a number of raised beds for community groups, a polytunnel and a tool shed, all surrounded by a low fruiting hedge and rabbit fencing with a gate at either end. In addition, Tayport residents who want to grow produce in their own gardens can take part in the workshops and other activities. The project already has its own blog designed to be an online community hub, with contributions from several volunteers.
In parallel Fife Council is also working towards reviving the existing allotment site on the other side of the burn from the community garden. This will be managed by the council but will be accessible from the community garden via a small pedestrian bridge to allow allotment holders to share the community garden's resources and join in activities.
Jessie Roberts, PLANT Administrator said: "We want the garden to be a beautiful place, where people can enjoy growing food and flowers, or just meet and chat. Everyone is welcome - all ages, beginners or old hands. The garden will open as much as possible so that non-plot holders can enjoy it too. Outside the hedge, there will be paths and plenty of open ground for children to play and people to walk their dogs in this lovely, safe, open space. We are very keen to be good neighbours, and share the view expressed by some local residents that the project must not result in additional car use and parking issues. Together with our partner Fife Council, we will ensure that this is clearly dealt with in the plot holders' agreements."
"As a school we believe a community garden would be an invaluable resource to further develop the established links with this group" said Jennifer Peterson, Deputy Head Teacher at the Tayport Primary School who expressed interest in taking up a community plot "We are in the process of reinvigorating our eco-committee and a joined up project where we could send groups of children to work on plots would be hugely beneficial to all our children. It is an exciting opportunity to develop our children's understanding of their natural world ad how to sustain this for their future".
Mark O'Reilly, Chair of PLANT, added "I like most aspects of gardening, but there's something especially magical about growing things from seed. You start with a grain, which could be tiny or microscopic and then you put it in the soil, where it looks as if it's going to get completely lost. Then one morning when you look there's something green pushing through the soil.
I hope I speak for other members of PLANT when I say that's pretty much how I feel at this stage in the development of the community garden. It's finally poked its young green head above the soil with the Planning Committee's decision today, and that's a testimony to the huge amounts of hard work that many members of PLANT have put into preparing the ground and sowing the seed, as well as to the vision and generosity of the Climate Challenge Fund and the guidance and determination of Fife Council. Now it's our job to nurture this seedling garden and ensure that it goes on to yield to its maximum capacity, which, in spite of its small extent, is enormous: to yield edible produce, fresh, tasty and local, to yield education, health from eating and health from growing, and to yield carbon reduction and community building."
Tony Gowland, the Chairman of Tayport Community Trust, said that PLANT were a fine example for local groups, combining enthusiasm and community engagement. Through the Fruit Tree walk, plant and apple days, and the cafe garden, the community garden is a hight point in PLANT's endeavours. It will enable them to bring gardening and food growing to a wider audience.
An open meeting and site visit with PLANT group and Fife Council Allotments Officer, Peter Duncan, will be held on Friday 24th of July, 7pm at the Scout Hall on Elizabeth Street, Tayport. All Tayport residents are invited to find out more about the project, and make their input into the plans. PLANT is also looking for volunteers to help with running of the project (growing or blogging), community groups interested in the community garden raised plots, and participants who want to grow more food at home.
For further information, please contact PLANT administrator, Jessie Roberts, on 07986 806847 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The original PLANT CCF funding award press release and media coverage can be found here.