Community Food

Our Food Growing Projects

School Polytunnel initial prep

Prior to covid, we managed to clear out and renovate the Lairg School Polytunnel. The teachers and children took it over and enjoyed the fruits of their labour cooked by the school cook. Thanks to Lairg Community Council for the rennovation funds.

We have also partially built a polytunnel at Ardgay (Gledfield) primary school, courtesy of a grant from The Anne Duchess of Westminster Charity. Hopefully the build will progress a little more during Easter 2021, but we may have to wait til the summer to complete the build. Covid restrictions have particularly slowed this project down.

Various new Community Food ventures are underway which we are either helping with or simply promoting. Read on to find out more about starting your own community garden ventures.

How to Start a Community Garden

Community Garden initiatives can start out at any scale, including

  • just a couple of friends talking about growing together, swapping what’s being grown to help with crop rotation, 
  • everyone having a salad planter, 
  • a few friends obtaining some land or working with crofters and small farmers,
  • to much larger ventures…

The big message really is:

Let’s Get Growing and don’t let anything hold us back!

Here are some great resources on how to get started.

Highlands & Islands Community Gardening

Have a look at our food map below to find someone close to you in the Highlands and Islands. We’re all working together on this and everyone will be happy to help you get started or develop your plans. Please get in touch to get your community garden / growing project added.

There are many community food initiatives in the Highlands and Islands. Here are some recommended resources with advice on everything from composting to growing food and reducing food waste.

Thurso Grows
helmsdale kitchen garden
moo food
highland seedlings

On a regional scale, locally we have:

The Highland Council, Growing Our Future Report includes lots of stories and examples of successful community growing projects in the Highlands and also lists of help on funding sources and what the council are going to do to help.

The Sutherland Community Partnership has developed an excellent food strategy plan. The initial phase focuses on our region’s horrendous food poverty situation. Subsequent phases move on to dealing with food waste, working with business and helping the environment. 

Kyle of Sutherland Growing (Facebook) Group. This group meets on a monthly basis to share great gardening experience hints and tips and to swap seeds, plants and produce. (Meetings suspended during Covid) 

The Lairg and District Learning Centre which runs many food projects and training courses

You can also join the Highland Food Providers Network group on Facebook run by the HTSI (Highlands Third Sector Interface and The Trussel Trust) – especially useful if you are running a food larder and are wanting to develop food growing initiatives too.
For events, please look at  our calendar for events on Community Growing from tree planting to organic growing to collective purchasing.

Training Videos on Starting Community Growing

The RHS Guide on Starting Community Growing – This really simple guide is great to get us started. It includes basic guidance and builds to designing the garden space, figuring out its purpose (food, environment, flowers, birds and bees), to funding and thinking about maintenance.

The Eden Communities Project – has this excellent video on How to Start Community Gardening.

Green Hive’s webinar on Community Food Growing – and excellent resource for starting your community food project with expert speakers.

Community Food Growing Map – Highlands and Islands. 

The following map (which was updated by the community food growing group in the Highland Good Food Partnership and includes all community growing ventures that we know about.  We have included all Highlands and Islands links here because they are all very useful and helpful examples of what’s happening, what can be done, and hopefully, to provide help for new ventures.

Please contact The Highland Good Food Partnership to add your Community Growing Venture

How to use the map:

  • with so many pins, you may wish to use the +/- icon to zoom into the desired are and then click on the individual pins to see more detail / web links etc or
  • or, click on the wee arrow box icon at the top to see the list (where you can see the keys description)
  • or, click on the top right box to open the larger map in google maps, where you can look at different “layers”

More Useful Food Growing Web sites

Read about Farms and Crofts and Climate Change here

The Open Food Network

Highland Food And Drink Club

Highland Good Food Conversation

Our Local Larder (Transition Black Isle)

If you come across any events or interesting web sites locally, please let us know.