Community growing spaces in Scotland can now open again while adhering to the guidance from Scottish Government.

To help groups Social Farms and Gardens UK has produced a glossary of what to consider when lock down eases based on insights from members.

In addition to this Social Farms and Gardens Scotland has produced some additional, practical points to help groups think through, plan and get back to growing as soon as possible. SFGS are asking for feedback and help on all of the points to develop good practice in very changed and challenging circumstances. 

So in practical terms what do you need to have in place?

  • Gloves: No communal glove use. If you can access a volunteer budget bulk buy gloves and name and gift everyone a pair. Can anyone bring their own?
  • Tools: must not be shared and must be disinfected after use. The simplest method for cleansing is a bucket of household disinfectant mixed to manufacturers guidelines. Allow tools to air dry. Any way of separating tools into buckets and barrows is also advisable. Agree one person to remove and then store tools.
  • Communal activities: Keep all indoor communal gathering space closed including polytunnels and sheds.
  • Outdoor seating: Should be reorganised to allow for distancing measures
  • Refreshments: The essential blether and catch up must go on but volunteers must bring their own refreshments, remove their own rubbish (to avoid rubbish removal protocols) and ideally take a break towards the end of the garden session to minimise all but emergency toilet use (if you have one).
  • No public events or open days until further notice: Can you reach your audience and continue to raise profile and funds in a different way?

  • Physical distancing: Think through your hotspots. Can you maintain distancing rules or do you need to rethink the number of people onsite at any one time?
  • Hand hygiene: There’s no substitute for good old-fashioned soap and water if you have mains water. Alternatively set up a wash station or use alcohol based hand sanitiser. A tippy tap might be the ideal solution. To keep things simple allow hands to air dry. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to use still water from butts and other sources to avoid legionella risk.
  • Cleaning and sanitising: Points of shared contact - gates, tools shed, tap, polytunnel door etc - need to be identified and regularly disinfected. Remember bleach and commercial cleaners must be locked away safely to comply with COSHH guidelines.
  • Toilets: Wherever possible toilets should remain closed and working times adapted to suit. If a toilet is used all surfaces will need to be disinfected and cloths disposed of. Read more here.
  • Travel: Ideally we’d all have a community growing space on our doorstep but if we don’t? This is the perfect opportunity for you to gauge travel methods to your site and discuss how you could make them more sustainable. Is it safe to ask people to cycle to you? Can you access bikes? Might volunteers engage with a walk to work campaign?
  • Polytunnels/greenhouses: We'd suggest keeping these closed until restrictions further eased and choosing nominated people to check watering, weeding, feeding etc.
  • Signage: We have produced some signage for you to print and where possible laminate here. If accessing signage and a laminator is an issue let us know.
  • Hayfever: Hayfever sufferers must follow sneeze etiquette and would be advised to communicate their allergy in advance to others to make them feel at ease.
  • Weather policy: It might make sense to communicate that if the weather is wet, the garden remains closed to avoid having people gather in indoor spaces.
  • Harvest and safe distribution of surplus: Wherever possible pick your own produce for self consumption and wash all produce before consumption. If you have surplus for donations or sale follow safe harvest procedure guidelines.

You might also like to join the Social Farms and Gardens Scotland member Facebook group