In 2010, we started looking into the possibility of a growing project. As part of the St Paul’s Youth Forum exchange trip to Zambia, we visited projects like Isiblu, where growing food for use by the participants of the project, as well as to raise funds, helped to create a cohesive, supportive community.
Knowing of growing projects in Glasgow, we started talking to people, and collecting ideas for our own project. We have identified an area of waste ground in close proximity to the church, the local community centre and the nursery, and the long term plan is to create our garden there. Young people have attended seminars run by Architecture and Design Scotland and their imagination has blossomed.
We were delighted that the Big Lottery’s Awards For All have given us money to start the project including funding for hens, bees and a storage container. Glasgow Housing Association, our local Councillor and our list MSP have been excellent in supporting the ideas of the young people.
As the process for obtaining the lease for the large area of land is taking longer than first anticipated, we decided to move ahead with the project within the church grounds in the meantime, to keep momentum going.
The benefits of spending time outdoors, growing fruit, vegetables and flowers, as well as caring for animals, has been well documented as having a beneficial effect on mental health and overall well-being. Our additional goals for this project are to encourage enterprise amongst our young people, selling the produce from our garden, and to tackle both food miles and food poverty as the young people who take part in the growing will have half the produce available to take home.
To complete our health and wellbeing circle, the garden will have a bothy style container, fire pits for warmth, and the produce will be used in various recipes for social events. Our pizza oven will be a permanent feature, encouraging healthy fresh food to be easily available. We envisage many community events taking place in the garden, from live music evenings, to film nights and food tastings.