Good Food Nation and the Composting Workshop


When more than a fifth of people in Scotland have gone hungry because they can’t afford to buy food,2/3  of Scots are overweight, 44% of our farmers don’t earn a living wage and there are 44 million fewer birds in Britain than there were in 1970 it could be argued that we are in desperate need of a new strategy with regard to food.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting the public about what a policy to enable Scotland to become a Good Food Nation should contain. You will find the consultation form at https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahUKEwiG7cy7w5DhAhUgURUIHTpiBn4QFjAAegQIBBAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fconsult.gov.scot%2Ffood-and-drink%2Fgood-food-nation%2F&usg=AOvVaw3ZCvWBcYUV3xqY1106VyX7

The consultation consists of 4 somewhat obscure ‘questions’ :

1     To what extent do you agree with the framework proposals for Ministers and public authorities to prepare statements of policy, have regard to them in the exercise of relevant functions, and report on implementation, with regard to international obligations and guidance?

2    Whilst we do not plan to require all sectors to prepare statements ofpolicy on food, they do all have a role to play in achieving our Good Food Nation ambition. To what extent do you agree that Government should encourage and enable businesses in particular to play their part? 

3   To what extent do you agree with the proposed approach to accountability of Scottish Ministers and specified public authorities? 

 4  To what extent do you agree with the proposal for targeted legislation relevant to specific policy areas as an alternative to a single piece of legislation? 

Even so , we think it is really important for us to respond before the consultation closes on March 29th. If you can find the time to fill in the questionnaire it is really important to make express your viewpoint on this key issue.

Our response is set out below. Feel  free to cut and paste our text if you want to in making your own responses.

Question 1          Agree

A Right to Food bill and accompanying Guidance could embed best practice in the way we grow, supply and cook our food. It could also change the culture of food in Scotland, make us a country where no-one is hungry, where we care about all those involved and where we all celebrate and enjoy our food. For this to happen the Government and public bodies must listen and work with everyone involved including allotmenteers and community growers.

Question 2        Agree

To succeed in making Scotland a Good Food Nation, we need everyone who has a role in food to play their part . We need ro encourage greater co-ordination and participation at local level.  For example, people can acquire the interest and skills in growing through allotments and community gardens and then if they wish,  progress to the commercial and social enterprises such as market gardens. For such connections to work there must be clear channels for information exchange and skills development.

Question 3       Strongly disagree

Reporting only to the Parliament and Scottish Ministers will not ensure Scotland becomes a Good Food Nation. Government’s plans and reports should be reviewed and monitored  by an independent statutory body that can demand action.  The local authorities have a duty under Part 9 (allotments) of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 to write a Food Growing Strategy (FGS). However the approach to developing an FGS is not necessarily being incorporated into policies relating to health, well being, the environment and education. A statutory body would ensure authorities effectively measured their progress and acted to bring about the fundamental changes in practice that are required in this area.

Question 4     Disagree

The Good Food Nation Bill should establish a legislative framework with social justice and the right to food at its heart. Such a legislative framework should guide subsequent targeted legislation. Food growing makes a contribution to all fields of government, it is fundamental to our quality of life. Targeted legislation should  ensure local food growing is integrated on all relevant policy areas including planning, health, land reform, biodiversity, circular economy, social inclusion and community integration.

Composting Workshop 

Jan McDonald will be following up the session on soil with a practical workshop on composting. This will take place at Springburn Gardens, Springburn Road, G21 1UX starting at 3 pm on Sunday April 7th..


Veg of the Month and Other Matters



Purple Sprouting Broccoli 

A very hardy plant that provides you with fresh greens when little else is available. First referred to in 1724 by the curator of the Apothecaries’ Garden at Chelsea as the “Italian asparagus”, purple sprouting broccoli is a worthy addition to the Scottish allotment. Patience is necessary, planted in mid-summer it is only in early spring the following year that the purple shoots appear.

1) Sow in early April in a tray of compost. 2)Let seeds germinate in the greenhouse or indoors. 3) Put the seedlings in a pot when the first true leaves appear. 4) Plant out the young plants in the ground in May
5) Plant them firmly 12/15” apart with 24” between rows 6) Add pelleted chicken manure  or fish, blood & bone (as advised on packs). 7) Put netting over the plants to save them from bird and butterfly attack. Start cutting the spears when they appear in the spring.

The ABC of Vegetables published by the Ministry of Food in 1948 recommends a steam-boil method of cooking with just enough salted water to prevent burning. After 10-15 minutes your patience will be rewarded. A white or cheese sauce is another possibility, but, with just a sprinkling of salt and a knob of butter this is a tasty early spring dish. (from Christine Forde and Denis Barrett)

Other Matters

1     On March 7th we had a very interesting talk packed with the latest ideas about how best to care for your soil and ensure its productivity. Jan’s input sparked a lot of useful discussion.  You will find the Handouts from Jan on the Events page in the Calendar for 2019.

2      The draft minutes of the business meeting that followed are on the Resources page as is Sandy’s latest report.

3       New site contacts for Germiston and Berridale have been added to the Table of Sites on the Sites page.

4        An early date for your diary – next season’s Potato Day will take place on Sunday Feb 23rd at the Reidvale Community Centre.

5       Don’t forget we’re looking for you to give us your nominations for Veg of the Month for April!



Price list, Veg of the Month and other matters

Potato Day is being held on Sunday this weekend (see Events page for details) so let the chitting begin!!

To help you make your choice of spuds here’s the latest price list:

Loose £
All varieties other than those detailed below per tuber

20 tubers of one variety



(Main crop)
Blue Danube  



per tuber

5 tubers

20 tubers of one variety








Golden Wonder, Organic
Highland Burgundy Red
Kingsman, Organic
Red Emmalie
Sarpo Una


per tuber

3 tubers

20 tubers





International Kidney, Charlotte

2kg £3.50
Albert Bartlett Potatoes

Elfe, Vivaldi

5 tuber packs £2
2kg packs £4.50
ONION sets…………Loose

Reb Baron, Sturon, Stuttgart Giant, 

Per scoop (80g/40 set/100ml approx) 40p
Packs as price marked: Snowball, Red Electric
SHALLOT sets…….Loose

Golden Gourmet

Per scoop (360g/18 sets/ 500ml approx) £2.00
Packs as price marked: Red Sun

Pink Germdour(SN), Cristo(SN)

Per bulb £1.50

Aquadulce Claudia

Masterpiece Green Windsor

Per scoop (100g/60 seeds/ 125ml approx) 70p 2 for £1
PEAS                        Loose

Kelvedon Wonder

Per scoop (60g/320 seeds/60ml approx) 50p 3 for £1
Potato planter bag Per bag £2.50 3 for £6
Orange mesh net Per net 20p
All other items as price marked

Veg of the Month

We’re thinking of making this a regular feature of our blog posts based on veg that can be harvested during each month of the year in Glasgow. We’d like to hear from you the veg you’d like to see us highlight for March and the reason for your choice so get in touch via our contact e-mail.


We’ve updated the contact details on our table of sites and also added a link to the GCC’s new map showing where the city’s allotment sites are located. Click on the Sites page to find this information.


Some events that you may be interested in.

Propagate are running a Veg Cities campaign in Glasgow. If you’re interested in joining in you can contact them at Propagate.

Trellis Scotland, the network for therapeutic gardening, are holding their annual conference on March 5th in Perth. For further details  contact them at Trellis Scotland  


Spring Activity

IMG_2131 2Crocuses in the Window Box and Pea Shoots on the Sill

Seed sowing for the new season is underway. This is also the last month for planting bare root fruit trees and bushes as well as doing the pruning.

Potato Update – Only 13 Days to Go

We now have the list of potatoes that will be for sale at this year’s event (see the link to the Seed Potato List under the heading Potato Day on the Events page) . There are 40 varieties in all, less than last year, but still a great range to choose from (despite the effects of last season’s drought).

We’re still looking for potato sellers and cashiers for Potato Day so please get in touch with Jan (jan.lynne2303@gmail.com) if you think you could help out. And don’t forget the cakes and bakes for the cafe!

Your Calendar: Don’t forget to let us know when you’re planning to hold an event on your site and we’ll  advertise it for you.

Glasgow’s Food Growing Strategy

Under the terms of Part 9 of Community Empowerment Act local authorities required to develop a food growing strategy for their area.

This strategy needs to:

  • identify land that could be used for allotments sites and other forms of community growing.
  • describe how the authority is going to increase provision for all forms of

community growing particularly in areas experiencing high levels of socio-

economic disadvantage.

You can find the Scottish Government’s Guidance to local authorities here (FGS LA Guide Nov 2018).

Glasgow City Council proposes to build its strategy for food growing based a series of 8 local workshops that will capture the priorities for each area of the city i.e. the need for access to food growing space on the basis of local provision and demand. These workshops will seek to ‘capture local priorities’ by:

– gaining an understanding of current food growing

– generating interest in food growing

– identifying potential growing sites

Three of the workshops have a theme: social enterprise, health, and outdoor learning.

The table (FGS Consultations) gives a list of the 8 events. If you want to attend then you need to register at  www.glasgow.gov.uk/foodgrowing which will give you the venue details. Attendance is free.

For those of you with an interest in the implementation of the Community Empowerment Act (2015) here is a link to Glasgow’s Draft Open Space Strategy  OSS and to our response to the consultation (GAF Response OSS) . You may also be interested in what is being planned for your own area. The City planners have  divided Glasgow into 15 Local Context Areas (LCAs) – each of which is described in a document attached to the same link as the one for the draft OSS strategy (above).


Getting to Know You

We had a lively discussion about this initiative at our meeting on Jan 10th. People welcomed  GAF visiting all the sites to get a better idea of what was happening on the ground.  So far we have had survey returns from nearly a third of  the Glasgow sites and we have visited 4 over the Christmas break.  Chris Kuhn showed us how the data from the survey could be analysed to give a broad picture of the way in which land is divided and a profile of the plotholder population.  Points raised in the discussion were:

a)  People felt it was important to raise awareness about how allotment sites contribute to the wellbeing of their plotholders and provide  a welcoming and supportive community for them. This includes both individuals and the various  groups who take on a plot.

b)  It is difficult to get any facts and figures about allotments so the survey was thought to be worthwhile. It would provide backing for our manifesto.  However, associations do not keep much in the way of detail about their members, so being precise about demographics (age, gender, ethnicity) can be problematic. Even though absolute accuracy is not possible a snapshot of the current position is still helpful.

c)  People felt that the uniqueness of the different sites was important. Each one is embedded in a different context and responds to different local conditions, It was critical that this should be recognised and valued. There should not be attempts to impose uniformity. For example, we discussed the way in which plots are organised and allocated on sites in response  to both internal and external requests. Associations need to be able to respond flexibly – particularly in the case of internal requests.

d)  Sharing information between sites was felt to be very valuable. It was clear from the variation in practice and experience in the small number of sites visited so far that there was a lot of useful knowledge to be exchanged between sites. We need to find an effective way to communicate this information.


  1. Legal – ‘Title’ to land, issues of liability, roles and responsibilities between associations and the local authority, issues of incorporation, etc.
  2. Capacity–Some sites are better run than others, a few do not provide a supportive experience for members. Conflict within associations is inevitable from time to time but is not always effectively managed.  Access to training and support for committee members was needed. As volunteer-run organisations, associations’  capability to raise funds, apply for grants, lobby for locally distributed funding and respond to external challenges are also variable.

The draft minutes of the meeting can be found on the Resources page.

Request for Information

We’ve had a request from Stephen Smith (stephen@glasgowcitymission.com) to get in touch with him if any of you have any knowledge of people rough sleeping on any of the City’s allotment sites.