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Action for New Allotments Meeting – Tue 27 October at 19:30 (online)

“I would like an allotment space where I can learn with other people how to grow food. I’ve been added to “the waiting list for the waiting list”. How long will I have to wait?”

In view of the long-standing shortage of plots in Glasgow and the large increase in demand for that most of us have experienced as a result of the Covid pandemic, we believe we need the City Council to take action by making more land available for food growing.

The best hope we have of doing this is to help those who want a plot to get together to campaign for change.

You’re welcome to join in, particularly if you don’t already have an allotment, or if your allotment life would be more convenient if a new site were set up closer to home.

To register for the meeting, to put forward any questions for discussion, or just to find out more, email GAFForum@gmail.com.

Councillor Martha Wardrop (Green Party Councillor for Hillhead) and Rachel Smith (Glasgow City Council Landscape Design and Development Manager) have agreed to attend an online meeting to discuss:

  • the opportunities for new sites in Glasgow
  • the Community Empowerment Act 2015
    • which includes a duty on local authorities to provide allotments, and to act if the waiting list exceeds 50% of the total number of allotment spaces owned by the council – see Section 112
  • Glasgow City Council’s Draft Food Growing Strategy
    • which the Council were required to write as a result of the Act above, and which includes a plan to develop new allotment sites over the next 5 years – see page 28

You may also be interested to read about:

  • the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019
    • which includes a duty on local authorities to provide an Open Space Strategy ‘to set out a strategic framework of the planning authority’s policies and proposals as to the development, maintenance and use of green infrastructure in their district‘ – see Section 3
  • Glasgow City Council’s Open Space Strategy, adopted in Feb 2020
    • which has overlap with the plans for new allotment spaces mentioned in the draft Food Growing Strategy, mentioned above
TimeContentSpeaker
19:30Welcome
Introduction to panel members
Jenny Reeves
(Chair, Glasgow Allotments Forum)
19:35The Community Empowerment Act 2015
What it says about allotments and food growing
Jenny Reeves
19:45Glasgow’s Response
The Food Growing Strategy and proposed action regarding new allotments
Rachel Smith
(Landscape Design and Development Manager, Glasgow City Council)
19:55Discussion
Participants’ questions about the meaning and implementation of the new legislation in Glasgow
Panel chaired by Scott Ramsay
(Member, Glasgow Allotments Forum)
20:15Taking Action
How you can make your voice heard
Strategies / approaches for effectively demanding land / space for growing
Councillor Martha Wardrop
(Green Party Councillor for Hillhead)
20:25Discussion
Participants’ questions about taking action for the provision of new growing spaces
Panel chaired by Scott Ramsay
20:40Summary and Next StepsJenny Reeves,
Rachel Smith, and
Councillor Martha Wardrop
21:00Close

If you can’t make the meeting, you’re still very welcome to join the campaign. Get in touch so we can keep you up-to-date with developments and other activities in the future.

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Seeking Volunteers for Veg Vlog Venture 📹 🥦👩‍🌾

A Lego character recording a video wearing outdoor clothing

We’re looking for people to help us set up and feature in an allotment video channel on YouTube. Experience is beneficial, but the only fundamental requirements are keen-ness and time!


We all started somewhere with our plots. Whether we learned by reading books, following packet instructions, or inheriting growing knowledge from an older and wiser family member, we probably all needed a bit of advice to point us in the right direction before we went free-range and started experimenting.

There are thousands of vlogs (video blogs) on YouTube now showing you how to sow, transplant, nurture, harvest and cook just about anything you could want to grow. They’re a fantastic resource (and they’ve taught me most of what I know!) but there’s one thing I always find my inner voice complaining about:

Yes, but these people aren’t growing in the weather of Scotland!

In fact, it’s for exactly that reason that Jim McColl took to the airwaves in 1978 to launch The Beechgrove Garden on the BBC. That mission has made it so successful that it’s still on the air today, 42 years later.

So, with that in mind, we’d like to run our own experiment: creating a Glasgow-specific (or Scotland-specific?) allotment gardening YouTube channel.

We’re looking for people who want to get involved as growers, filmers, or both. We need a range of people to be involved so that there’s broad appeal and a bit of something for everyone.

What’s great about Beechgrove right now (spring 2020) is that the presenters are all still recording from home under lockdown, focusing on the different types of growing that suit their personal situation and what they have to han (click here to watch a clip on the BBC iPlayer).

A GAF YouTube channel could perhaps take inspiration from that, and our contributors could play to each of our individual strengths. That would mean we’ve got a variety of plants, faces and experiences.

We’d like to go beyond creating simple plot updates. There are lots of video diaries like that out there, and let’s be honest – very few of us are really all that interested in hearing about how someone else’s carrots are coming along each week. What we really want to see is what the person has done, why they’ve done it that way, how not to do it, and what the results are!

If you’re interested in getting involved, we’d love to hear from you.


What You’d Need

Any one or more of the following:

  • Interest, experience, or a desire to learn about:
    • growing
    • doing some filming
    • talking on camera
    • or even getting your plot neighbours to talk on camera while you film them…
  • Any kind of camera – even a smartphone would do
    • ideally at least 720p (HD) – have a look around in your camera app settings to check
  • A basic camera stand or mount
    • tripod, selfie stick, posable clamp, etc. – group members will undoubtedly have plenty of recommendations to share
  • A basic microphone
    • the one on your phone / camera will work, but even a mic meant for doing hands-free calls on your phone’s headphone cable can give an advantage
  • Motivation and time to dedicate to the project as the year goes on…

The Plan

This would be a collaborative project that develops with input from everyone, but here’s a first attempt at a plan to give the project some structure.

It’ll also give you an idea of what you might be signing up for:

  • Phase 1: Vlog team assemble!

    – Gather names of interested folk
    – Compare notes on interests, growing background, allotment situations, video equipment and experience, and time available to spend on the project
    – Set a date to meet virtually (Zoom? Skype?) to get to know each other

  • Phase 2: Content planning

    – Identify unique contributions / topics (maximises original content; reduces repetitive videos)
    – Plan content for relevant points through growing season
    – Decide on episode format(s) (e.g. how-to demonstrations; Q&A from allotmenteers; one person per episode vs updates from multiple locations; etc.)

  • Phase 3: Skill-sharing and trial-runs

    – Share knowledge (e.g. best ways to film on location; tips for camera angles; advice on capturing good audio; to script or not to script, etc.)
    – Make some trial run videos?
    – Send clips to editor / editors on the team?
    – Share thoughts and feedback on what works and what tweaks we could make?

  • Phase 4: Filming

    – Record videos
    – Edit videos
    – Build up a few for launch date?

  • Phase 5: Release & ongoing filming

    – Launch the channel!

Register your interest

Any information you share with us will be kept strictly confidential between the committee. You can read more about our data processing and retention policy here.


Some Inspiration…

These examples will give you a flavour of what’s already out there.

Take a look and decide what you like in them, what you don’t, and maybe start to get an idea of what you could contribute to the project.

Don’t worry if the ‘Features’ we’ve posted below each clip seem like jargon or are way beyond anything you’ve tried before. Part of the project will be making sure people know all about what these mean, and we’ll help you practice if you want to learn.


UK Plotholder: Claire’s Allotment

Style: Daily diary. Growing advice to camera. Semistructured.

Features: tripod and free-held mix; cutaway close-up footage; clip-on mic; branding; on-screen text annotations.

UK-based exotic food grower: GoTropicalUK

Style: Growing advice to camera. Single topic. One continuous take.

Features: worktop-mounted wide-angle camera; in-camera mic; intro and outro with theme music.

The Godfather of No-Dig: Charles Dowding

Style: Growing advice to camera. Multiple locations and lessons in one video. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: separate camera operator; tripod; cutaway close-up footage; clip-on mic; establishing shots; branding; on-screen text annotations; title in thumbnail.

~Weekly vlogger: Kelly’s Kitchen Garden

Style: Regular diary. Growing advice on and off-camera. Semistructured.

Features: title sequence; handheld mobile phone; in-camera mic; title in thumbnail.

Daily vlogger: Joe Murphy (The Little Farmers Farm)

Style: Daily diary. ‘Interview’-style advice with guest. Presenter both on and off-camera. Loose structure.

Features: introduction; selfie stick; continuous filming; in-camera mic; rapid turnaround.

Task-focused advice channel: Daisy Creek Farms with Jag Singh

Style: Growing advice to camera. Lots of focus on aesthetics. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: tripod; desktop tracking slider; cutaway close-up footage; background music; title in thumbnail.

Welsh celebrity (? – he’s published books!) gardener, Huw Edwards

Style: Growing advice to camera. Single topic. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: separate camera operator; free-held camera; cutaway close-up footage; B roll; artistic shots; title in thumbnail.

High-latitude North American grower, James Prigioni

Style: Construction advice to camera. Single topic. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: separate camera operator; free-held camera; teaser intro before channel title card; theme music; cutaway close-up footage; clip-on mic; on-screen text annotations.

UK homestead farming tutorials: Liz Borab – Byther Farm

Style: Growing & outdoor lifestyle advice to camera. Storyboarded and edited.

Features: tripod; teaser intro before channel title card; single topic; theme music; cutaway close-up footage; on-screen text annotations; title in thumbnail.


If this sounds like something you want to get involved with, or even if you just want to know more, fill out the form!

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Time to Prep for the New Plotholder Awards 🏆

An award issued by The Incorporation of Gardeners of Glasgow

We let you know recently that we give out awards to the best newcomers. Make sure you (or your new neighbours) don’t miss out. If you just jump in and get digging, you might waste your chance to document the starting conditions!

What you need to do now

a) start planning what you’ll do with your plot, along with the reasons for all your choices

b) take a photo of your plot before you get started (see the judging criteria, below)

How do you enter?

By application form:

What about the prizes and the rules?

Have a look at our initial post for full details on the prize amounts, the judging criteria, and information on who’s eligible.

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Seed Potato Stock – Going Cheap! 🥔💸

Potatoes

Linlithgow and District Allotment Society (LADAS) recently had their very own potato day, and they’ve got some seed potato stock left over. They’re happy to let it go at cost price, so if anyone missed out on Glasgow’s recent potato day (or just can’t get enough) then get in touch direct with Alison from LADAS by next week (commencing Monday 9 March) – alison.valentine [@] blueyonder.co.uk

One of their members will bring the seed potatoes to a central location in Glasgow at a time to be firmed up once the orders have come through.

VarietyPrice per kgApprox potatoes left (kg)
First EarliesEpicure£0.644
Maris Bard£0.828
International Kidney£0.643
Sharpe’s Express£0.641
   
Second EarliesCharlotte£0.8219
Kestrel£0.645
Nadine£0.641
Maris Peer£0.7211
   
Main CropDesiree£0.6411
Red King Edward£0.824
Linda£0.829
Pink Fir Apple£0.826
Pink Gypsy£0.828
Picasso£0.6412

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New Plotholder Awards 🏆

An award issued by The Incorporation of Gardeners of Glasgow

Each year, we award a prize to the best new plotholder across all of the allotment sites Glasgow. If you’ve taken on your plot since January 2019 (yes, the start of last year), you’re eligible to apply before the deadline of July 2020.

We wanted to let you know now so that you can a) get planning, and b) take a photo of your plot before you get started (see the judging criteria, below)!

The aim of the awards

To recognise the work of new plot-holders and to encourage a good standard of cultivation in its widest sense.

Who can enter?

Any plot-holder who is an Allotment Association member of a Council or privately owned site – within the Glasgow City area. The plot-holder can have taken on their new plot at any time after January 1st of the year preceding entry, thus giving an opportunity to apply over 2 growing seasons. (i.e. January 1st 2019 for entry by July 2020).

How do you enter?

By application form:

Judging will take place within July and will be confirmed later.

Applicants and site secretaries will be sent a receipt of acknowledgment of the application form. Please contact us directly if you do not receive this confirmation.

Plotholders should ensure that someone is able to open the site and show the plot to be judged on the day. Plotholders will be emailed the preceding evening to advise whether the visit will be in the morning or the afternoon and will be messaged by text approximately 45 minutes before the judge expects to arrive at their site.

Presentation of prizes will be at the GAF Celebration of Allotments Event on October 3rd 2020.

What are the prizes?

  • 1st Prize: £50 gardening vouchers & 1st Prize certificate designed by the Incorporation of Gardeners.
  • 2nd Prize: £40 gardening vouchers & 2nd Prize certificate designed by the Incorporation of Gardeners.

  • There are up to 3 Highly Commended prizes of £20 each, at the judge’s discretion.
  • 2 Commendation prizes of £20 are awarded for the most significant progress in overcoming adversity in particularly challenging conditions.

What are the judging criteria?

A short description of the state of the plot when it was assigned must be included with the entry form, along with photographs of the state of the plot at assignment.

Areas of judging & awarding of points:

  1. Overall Growing Plan – including attention to sustainability and biodiversity in both the process and your desired outcomes in matters like rainwater harvesting, mulching, soil care, understanding of crop rotation etc. (maximum 20 points)
  2. Overall appearance – general tidiness, evidence of planning &
    organisation. Appropriate proportion of the plot as growing space. Structures such as sheds and greenhouses, if present, should be in a serviceable state of repair. (maximum 20 points)
  3. Cultivation should be generally weed-free with evidence of on-going cultivation. A variety of healthy plants – vegetables, fruit and flowers – should be growing. Appropriate weed-control strategies are acceptable for areas not yet cultivated. (maximum 20 points)
  4. Paths, hedges and boundaries including frontage should be tidy and clear of pernicious weeds. (maximum 10 points)
  5. Systems and methods of composting, rainwater harvesting, and water conservation should be evident. Evidence of an understanding of biodiversity and soil care and nurture. (maximum 20 points)
  6. Evidence of your contribution to the wider allotment community including supporting other new allotmenteers, contributing to the care of communal areas, contributing to committee, contributing to open days etc. (maximum 10 points)
  • Good luck, and happy planning!