Published 18 September 2020
A new strategy to improve food growing opportunities across West Dunbartonshire has been introduced.
The West Dunbartonshire Council Food Growing Strategy outlines plans to work with communities, encouraging them to take an active role in producing their own food and making the area the best food-growing location in Scotland.
As part of the plans outlined, the provision of food-growing spaces including community gardens and allotments will be increased over the next five years.
It is anticipated that the creation of additional spaces will address high demand for food growing in the area, with the current waiting list for an allotment sitting at 275 applicants.
Capital funding of £500,000 has been allocated to develop new growing spaces, which in addition to traditional allotments could include community gardens, back-court spaces, school gardens and windowsill potting.
There are currently three projects being progressed to provide food growing sites: Townend Road for a mix of 30 traditional allotments and community raised beds, which is expected to be completed in early 2021; Clydebank Community Sports Hub for 20 traditional allotments to be managed by the sports hub board, which is due for completion in later this year; and Melfort Community Park for 30 beds within a community garden, which is due to be complete later this year.
The Strategy also identifies a further twenty three potential food growing spaces throughout the area.
The plans were discussed with members of the Council’s Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development committee this week (16 Sept), and Councillors agreed to adopt the strategy.
Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Food growing is in high demand in West Dunbartonshire, and our existing allotments and community gardens are extremely popular.
“We are already seeing work progressing across the authority in sites at Clydebank Community Sport Hub, Melfort Community Park and Townend Road in Dumbarton, and I am pleased that we are now have a plan in place to improve our growing facilities even further.
“There are multiple benefits to growing your own food, both to the communities who participate and to the environment, including reducing the miles that food travels from growing space to plate and creating increased biodiversity areas for birds, bees and insects.”
Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “Successfully growing a crop of fruit and vegetables is well known to have a positive impact on both mental health and physical well-being, as is the active social side of participating in a community allotment or garden.
“This strategy will also ensure good food-growing opportunities are available to residents from all walks of life, helping reduce food and health inequalities in our area by allowing people to enjoy and learn about nutritious and healthy food.”
A report detailing the makeup of the Food Growing Strategy Working Group and how it will be run will be brought to the next committee, and updates on the progress of the strategy brought to the committee for six months.
In addition, the progress will be detailed on the Council’s website.