At the end of 2021, Edible Estates CIC won the tender to provide community gardening services across Edinburgh’s council estates on behalf of Edinburgh Council’s housing department.
Throughout 2022, we have been carrying out a Community Garden Survey to investigate the condition of all community gardening and community growing projects on Council housing land.
We have identified forty six growing sites in all – from small ones with a couple of raised beds outside a tower block, to large ‘neighbourhood garden’ with growing beds for seventy or more growers. While a number of the gardens are considered best-practice, some have fallen into disrepair over the years. We have surveyed the gardens and met with the gardeners to find out what kind of support they would benefit from.
Additionally, using resources provided by the Council, the survey identified areas of council housing where there is currently little to no provision of community gardening opportunities where new gardens could possibly be created.
The survey will provide the basis for the delivery of a multi-year programme of support for existing gardens, and the delivery of new gardens which will start this autumn. These support services will be delivered by Edible Estates on behalf of the Council, in liaison with council officers, supporting third sector organisations, and the groups managing each garden.
Greig Robertson, Edible Estates’ Founding Director, said the following;
We are really pleased to have developed this relationship with the Council. Edible Estates have been working independently in Edinburgh’s council estates for some years now and have developed a wealth of knowledge and resources that can make for a successful community garden. We’re keen to share that knowledge, but also to learn from other gardens across the city that have developed other approaches.
Community gardens are a valuable resource to communities, they support individual and community well-being, promote physical activity, create new connections between folk, and of course grow fruit and veg. They are a ‘place’ and an activity, and play an important role in the move towards establishing 20-minute neighbourhoods across the city. They are helping support communities facing the challenges of food insecurity and the cost of living crisis.
The Community Garden Survey has highlighted that gold-standard community growing projects can and do exist across Edinburgh, and showcases the potential for many more to develop with the right support provided through the Community Garden Framework. We are looking forward to continuing work with and supporting the fantastic organisations, groups, and volunteers behind each of the gardens outlined in the report, and more so to seeing how each garden develops over the coming years.
Going forward, you will see regular updates about these community growing projects across Edinburgh on both our blog and social media channels, as well as in our monthly newsletter. To sign-up for our newsletter and stay updated, click here.
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