Grow Stronger is a community led food growing initiative, which innovatively tackles the issues of producing food locally, and reducing food waste. This will be delivered by building community capacity and individual volunteer skills, using an inclusive inter-generational approach to reducing carbon consumption.
The project will take place in Gilmerton, Gracemount & Moredun and hopes to enable residents to become less reliant on imported and intensively grown food, and more self-sufficient. These measures will also help guard against future climate change by reducing the collective carbon footprint, and will allow the residents to build a more resilient community.
We will be working with communities who are traditionally less aware of carbon related issues and who have fewer opportunities to take part in activities that promote carbon reduction. The key will be to ensure that our approaches and methods offer practical help and solutions
Our community engagement work will include:-
• Introducing our workshops to schools, focusing on composting food waste and awareness of the seasonal calendar.
• Increasing the growing and cooking of local, seasonal food and reducing the amount of food waste.
• Supporting knowledge transfer through recruiting peer educators to work with youth groups and mentors with growers
• Conducting in-depth interviews with families about carbon behaviour and sharing the findings
• Volunteer-run film nights and talks to recruit people with gardens and expand involvement in the community
Working with volunteers
The core of our work with local community volunteers will involve running skills development courses for 450 adults, young people and children. These will focus on a variety of subjects, including hot-boxing, growing your own vegetables, composting, fruit tree maintenance, seasonal cooking and reducing waste.
The walled garden at Gracemount and other sites in the project areas will take centre stage in our ambitions. The space will be used for training, a pop up café venue, and as a meeting space.
After participants have gained the necessary skills and confidence, individuals in this “core group” will be encouraged and supported to engage with the wider community and to become mentors to beginner gardeners.
Our volunteer development work will also include:-
• Supporting volunteers to organise and deliver community based events such as seed swaps and apple days
• Linking volunteer development with other initiatives such as the Pop-up Café s by providing opportunities for volunteers to organise events and take part in the workshops
• Encouraging people to understand the links between growing, purchasing, consuming and waste