FARE Scotland (Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse) is a voluntary organisation working within disadvantaged communities throughout Central Scotland.

In the last year FARE has been supporting the community to make the most of their allotments sited in Easterhouse, Glasgow, within the grounds of an old community centre which was demolished 9 years ago.

How was the project seeded?

In 2021, FARE were asked by Janie Boyce, who initially lead local people working tirelessly to secure the plot of land after demolition, to get involved, support local volunteers and take over the running of the community allotment. Janie had to step back due to poor health just as the group’s vision of local people socialising, growing their own plants and vegetables was finally taken shape, and then the Covid 19 pandemic arrived soon after and the community allotment became idle once again for almost 2 years.

FARE now have a Lead Gardener, Susan Wilson, continuing the great work of Janie and many local volunteers to transform the allotment into a vibrant space for people of all ages to use, grow their own vegetables, meet new people and learn new things.

Susan began her community gardening journey in 2016 as Tesco Parkhead Community Champion after being approached by the Connect Community Allotments to help fundraise for the men in the allotment. She then volunteered for a year Parkhead Save Our Service Veterans and took on her own plot at Shettleston Community Growing Project, finding she had a natural flair for growing plants, supporting the community and harvesting awards.

She became the volunteer lead gardener with the Allotment Angels in the Reidvale Allotments, where she supported adults with additional support needs for 3yrs at 30hrs a week which was recognised with winning a national competition Cultivation Street – Gardens for Better Health and also being finalists in the Groundwork Community Awards

During her Community Champion role at the Parkhead Forge Tesco she also supported 26 schools in 2021, providing them with planting packs of potatoes, garlic, seeds and bulbs.

What flourishes in the allotments?

The community, including 4 local nurseries, 2 primary schools, a secondary school, an afterschool and weekend family gardening clubs, use the allotments on a daily basis, gaining certification whilst doing so. Supported by Susan, in this short time, they developed the site into a busy, productive and biodiverse community greenspace which has been recognised widely, including being awarded Thriving Level 4 Keep Scotland Beautiful It’s Your Neighbourhood and NatureScot Pollinator Friendly Award certificates.

Susan has registered all 7 nurseries, schools and the after-school gardening club individually for the RHS campaign for School Gardening Awards, already reaping a level 3.

The Schools’ Plots also recently won the Glasgow Times Community Champion Schools of the Year 2021 winner for helping toturn an Easterhouse plot into a fantastic community hub.”

“The opportunity the children have been given to participate in garden projects within the allotments has allowed them to increase their social skills, participatory skills and most importantly gain new knowledge and skills around growing fruit and vegetables.  In just a few months the children were able to identify different foods and are more willing to try a new food if they know where it comes from.”
Annemarie FAREPlay nursey

Although the schools each have their own allotment plot the young people are learning so much more than growing vegetables, they learn community cohesion and about climate adaption. They have created different areas within and around the allotment on disused ground including, with a grant from 2021 Action Earth Volunteering Matters and Springing Into Action, planting an orchard and bulbs to enhance the front of the allotment.

Learning seed sovereignty whilst transplanting flowering vegetable plants from raised beds to a wildflower space which enhances pollination for seed saving. They wait for the plants to die off, collect and dry the seed, such as runner beans, and leave some sunflower, borage and marigold for the birds to feed on. Partnering with Grow Wild the children learnt the science of preparing and growing their own wild fungi. They have also been involved in both regular monthly litter picking around the allotments and local area with Clean Up Scotland and the annual World Clean-up Day  where young volunteers, schools and the afterschool club joined in.

Bearing fruit for the future

The project also gives local people an opportunity to meet new people and reduce social isolation. Susan has forged relationships with local and national businesses who continue to support her good work with many donations, the latest donation for Lochend Community Allotments has been a palm tree and Susan and the children have ideas for using wooden pallets to make a beach hut and making a sandy pond area for biodiversity and dreams of tropical isles – perhaps this summer they will put her feet up in the sun with an Easterhouse homegrown fruit smoothie!

FARE, Susan and the local community have done an amazing job, achieving so much in such a short time, introducing children, young people and families on a weekly basis to long-term skills that will allow them to grow and cook their own healthy fruit and veg, reducing their expenditure for the regular food shop, and enabling them to utilise the allotment for many years to come.

Local families and young people are at the centre of all future plans and development of the allotment. Currently the future looks fruitful as FARE are in discussion to take over the long-term lease of the allotment which will allow them to develop and get more people using the allotment.  

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