Harvest, Producing Food in Glasgow and Responding to the Consultation on Social Prescribing

With the harvest in full swing, and friends and neighbours already beginning to look dubious when you chap the door with yet more courgettes on offer, now’s a good time to think about what preserves and baking you might be able to contribute to our Celebration of Allotments at St.Margaret’s Episcopal Church on September 28th  

We’re looking to have a good range of baking in the café and a variety of produce and preserves on our stall that shows off what Glasgow allotments are capable of producing.

If you think you can help please get in touch.


Our next meeting on Thursday September 5th (Garnethill Multicultural Centre, Rose St.  7 – 8 pm) will start with a talk by Abi Morden from Propagate (www.propagate.org.uk). All those who are interested in the topic are welcome. 

Roots to Market – Building a Local Food Economy from the Ground Up

This talk and discussion will focus on the work done so far in Glasgow to stimulate our local food economy. There is enormous potential to be harvested in increased urban food production. We need to think innovatively and creatively about how we use land, buildings, resources and supply chains to get more people eating local.

(Agenda of Business Meeting 8 – 9pm to follow)

The Parliamentary Health and Sports Committee are seeking views on social prescribing. Judy writes:

“I think it is really important we get an input into this – before August 30th. Gardening is a physical activity and, in line with our Manifesto, we need doctors to prescribe community gardening opportunities as well as walking groups or sports.”  The link is


Cast Your Vote – Deciding on This Year’s  ADAs


Come along and vote next Friday evening at the presentations for the Allotment Development Awards.

Listen to five different propositions for making their allotment sites more accessible, sustainable and bio-diverse being made by plotholders’ associations from across the City.

All plotholders are welcome – 6.30 pm at Garnethill Multicultural Centre, Rose St.

THE ADAS ProgrammeADA Projects 2019.jpg


Results of the New Plotholders’ Awards for 2019, a new ADAs closing date and two more Open Days.

Sarah Henry writes: We had a fantastic day for the New Plotholders’ Awards (NPAs) on Saturday July 7th. Ten plotholders applied in total, over 7 different sites. We had a clear first prize at Merrylee Allotments for Sally Packer. She had an amazingly productive plot, with a fantastic focus on biodiversity, environment and encouraging insects and a creative use of recycled resources. We loved it and it scored an amazing 100 points.

Allotment June 2019

Here are the results in full.

1st Prize – Sally Packer, Merrylee allotments

2nd Prize – Rudy Intraina, Oatlands Leisure Gardens


Highly commended prizes to:

Donnie Mackie – Mansewood Allotments

John and Ann-Marie Falconer – Mansewood Allotments

Floortje Goemans – Hamiltonhill Allotments

Commendation prizes to

Lucy and David Young – Hamiltonhill Allotments

Andrei and Ani Patrana – Mansewood Allotments

We have an extra special mention for you all, which we felt it was impossible to judge with the criteria provided for the NPA. Susan Wilson nominated the community garden she runs at Reidvale Allotments and we were so impressed  with what she has done to transform this patch of land. Whilst we were there, residents from the flats opposite came by, there were volunteers from all ages and walks of life and the garden was absolutely beautiful and provided food for them all. This plot was a true community plot, for everyone, it was so impressive how much work had gone into transform the site and how much it was loved by all those who lived nearby. We felt that this deserved special mention. It provided so much more than could be judged for the NPA competition.

We strongly encouraged Susan to enter for the ADAs and will be sending her information about how to enter.

ADAs – If you haven’t put in an entry for the Allotment Development Awards it is not too late to apply – the closing date has been extended to July 31st. All you need to do to enter is to send the title of the project you want to undertake to us at GAFForum@gmail.com along with the name of your Allotment Site. You’ll find all the information about presenting your project  for the voting session on August 16th in this document:  THE ADAs Making a Proposal 2019

Two more allotment Open Days on the Events  page at Sir John Stirling Maxwell Gardens and Victoria Park Allotments.

Golf Courses, Scot.Gov’s Guidance on Allotments and Holmlea’s Open Day


Glasgow City Council has a consultation out on the use of golf courses.  The 6 courses owned by the Council tend to be underused and are proving very costly to maintain. Golf courses are a possible source of good, cultivable land which could be used for allotments, market gardens and community gardens. Such a change in use would support the City’s Food Growing Strategy.

Unfortunately the consultation form initially asks you questions about golf which you have to answer before you can get to the open-ended questions that allow you to express possible alternative uses for the sites. This means that, if like me you have no interest in golf, you have to provide dubious data for questions 1 and 2 – though you can point this out in the open-ended section. If you feel that we need better provision for allotments in the City – we haven’t had a new site since 2005 and getting a plot on many of our sites means being on a waiting list for 8 – 10 years –  you may want express an opinion on the matter despite the restrictions set by the form. The consultation closes on July 7th. The link is: http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/consultations.

The Guidance to Local Authorities for Part 9 of the Community Empowerment Act was published yesterday at  https://www.gov.scot/publications/part-9-community-empowerment-scotland-act-2015-allotments-guidance-local-authorities/

It sends a strong message  about the need for stakeholder engagement in paragraphs 9.1 to 9.4 and 11.19 of section 119 ‘food-growing strategy guidance.’

(5). Ensuring there is sufficient suitable land to satisfy future demand:
3.22 Local authorities should, where practicable, (e.g. based on the scale of the development) incorporate growing spaces in planning briefs for regeneration and new developments, preserving sufficient good quality land to satisfy current and future demand.

Finally, Holmlea’s Open Day plus you’ll find new contact data for their site and South Western allotments in the table attached to our Sites page.


Enter for the ADAs, it’s a great opportunity. Here’s ADA Tale 2

ADA Tale 2: Springburn Gardens

Winning the ADA for the North West area last year enabled us to move on with our project to refurbish some old dog kennels – which doesn’t sound particu;arly exciting. However, we’re just beginning to realise, now that we’ve nearly completed the conversion what a difference this project makes to what we can do as an association.

We planned to use the money to convert two huts for use as a schoolroom and a field kitchen so that we could open up  part of our site as a nature reserve for local schools and other groups to visit and enjoy. Getting the £500 enabled us to make a start and encouraged  us to apply successfully for a local area partnership grant.

The finished Schoolroom

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The schoolroom is already regularly in use by a group of pupils from our local secondary school and people interested in learning about foraging. The completed field kitchen will allow us to host workshops for using fresh produce such as making preserves and using fermentation techniques etc.

Foraging Workshop

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Now that we have almost completed the conversion we have realised that these two buildings not only give us the potential to develop new connections with local groups but also give our membership exciting new possibilities to get together as a community.

GET YOUR ENTRY IN : 3 prizes of £500 to support allotment development projects (see details on the Awards page).

THE ADAs Poster 3



Flaming June – New Plotholders and Foraging

The season is now coming into full swing – (even if things could do with being a little bit warmer). Strawberries and broad beans are on their way and we’re already cutting lettuce and picking mangetout peas down on the plot.

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For those of you that started working your plot from or after January 2018 don’t forget that entries for the New Plotholders’ Awards are due in at the end of this month (see the details on the Awards page). 

If you’re looking to do your bit for the planet we’re discussing effective substitutes for chemical pesticides and weedkillers at our next meeting on Thursday July 4th  (for details see the Calendar on the Events page). Come along to share knowledge and experience of using various organic methods for avoiding/controlling damage to your precious crops.

On the Events page there are also links to this season’s foraging workshops and news of more of Glasgow Allotment Sites Open Days, always a good way of getting new ideas.

ADA Tales: The Community Garden at South Western Allotments & the Bloomin’ Marvellous (?) Awards survey.

Completing Our Community Garden

Our receipt of one of the  £500 ADA awards for 2018 from GAF was a fantastic achievement for South Western Allotments on several levels. First and foremost, it allowed us to complete our Community Garden. This had previously been a piece of wasteground, almost a “dump site” behind our Community Hut.


One of our members designed the garden which was built using old pallets, recycled slabs and voluntary hard work. The raised beds contain easy to maintain perennials, all bee-friendly, and are available to older plotholders who feel unable to continue with a full plot but wish to retain their connection with the Association. We have also set aside 2 small beds for children (a suggestion we received on the night of the presentations). The whole garden is wheelchair friendly (though we are still working on main gate access). We use the area for coffee mornings and our Family and Friends Day as well as a meeting point for members.

On another level , the award was a further step in our efforts towards becoming a more inclusive and diverse community. Allotments are changing and our ADA could be seen as an acknowledgement that the challenges faced by the Committee in moving towards developing a more welcoming and holistic  ethos were well worth it. The £500 was greatly appreciated and, as the photos show, well used.

Doreen Grainger & Celia Bonner


The Bloomin’ Marvellous Awards

 We have been thinking about a way of recognising the contribution that individual plotholders make to their allotment sites. We came up with the idea of the Bloomin’ Marvellous Awards for Glasgow allomenteers who have added something exceptional to the experience of their fellow plotholders and others through the way they go about their gardening and associated activities.

The proposal is that next season allotment associations should be able to nominate candidates whom they think have made an exceptional contribution to their community. All the nominees would be visited and their stories would be written up and put forward to a external panel of judges for confirmation of the awards.

In order to sort out the criteria and the title for the awards we are putting out a short survey to find out what GAF members think about the proposal. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete so we do hope you’ll all get back to us with your views on the matter.  Survey

Please check Events – the Autumn Celebration will be on Saturday 28th September (not October 5th) and the Open Day table has been updated (don’t forget to let us know when your Open Day is happening).