Edible Estates were asked by Edinburgh Council to work with the residents of Hutchison (an estate in the SW of Edinburgh,) to identify ways in which greenspaces in the neighbourhood could be improved with the support of the community and Council. In 2019, we ran a series of community consultations, during which the establishment of a neighbourhood garden in local greenspace was a particularly popular idea among residents. We then conducted surveys of the surrounding residents in 2020 and 2023, which received a majority positive response. Planning permission was applied for and granted in 2023.
The new Neighbourhood Garden site is an area of greenspace managed by the Council within a ring of tenements between Hutchison Medway, and Hutchison Avenue. The site can be accessed by a path on Hutchison Medway.
In July, we hosted a community meeting on site, where the design and a plan to get started was discussed with local residents, and at which we were delighted to see so much enthusiasm. Twice-weekly community gardening sessions began a few day days later, and have since seen a steady 8 – 10 participants each time.
The project also welcomed new Community Gardener, Gaby, who got stuck into coordinating the gardening sessions and has been of huge support to participants as they work together to build 30+ raised growing beds, which will become available to locals once completed.
The first session was slow going, as participants were cutting the turf by hand. Though this was hard work, it really brought the team together, and made the process considerably easier. During the second session, a mechanical turf cutter was accessed, which really sped up the process. The group split into two teams, one to build the beds, the other to move the cut turves. The former team proved especially efficient, with raised beds piling up so quickly that more wood had to be obtained.
Across the new school term, our Growing Youth team will be working to build the garden’s large community shed, which will support both the garden, as well as other community activities and greenspace projects across Hutchison. The group are particularly looking forward to this amenity, as it will feature a veranda where they can sit with their neighbours out of the rain, have a cup of tea, and get to know one another.
Participants have commented that they hope the garden will serve as a space to foster relationships with their neighbours, since local shops and community spaces which allowed people to bump into one another no longer exist. They also hope to engage local organisations and schools to come and use the space, and perhaps take on a raised bed to learn how to grow their own produce as a group.
Once the raised beds are in place, next steps include building the paths, and planting up the forest garden border, which will be comprised of fruit trees, bushes, and plants. The group also aim to catch the end of the growing season and plant up some of the raised beds with over-wintering crops. Additionally, the fence around the site will be renovated with gates installed (if households want them,) so that residents living around the site can access it directly.
If you’d like to get involved, pop along to the Thursday and Saturday sessions with Gaby from 9:30am -12:30pm – no experience required! For further information contact our Community Garden Development Officer, Pippa, at email@example.com or 07549431528.
You may also be interested in…