We are a community-focused horticulture programme, growing a wide range of produce for the benefit of everyone in the communities of Uist.
Our vision is to provide a safe and welcoming garden environment for our volunteer adults to grow fruit and vegetables, which are then made available to our island community for purchase, as well as the availability of plants, both horticultural (for our community growers) and non-horticultural plants (beddings, shrubs, and trees).
We also invite the on-site Food Bank to access our locally grown produce for distribution amongst their clients, and have offered our ongoing support, in the form of advice and provision of plants/materials, as required, to our out-reach growing projects, such as the (project-established) 8x community polycarbonate-tunnel growing schemes, and the islands’ 4x primary schools’ gardens and their respective gardening clubs and volunteer groups.
The garden site at Tagsa Uibhist is designed for project areas to work beside community allotment-holders, who have also contributed to the development of the overall vision for the future of the garden.
In recent years, our gardeners have welcomed community members to buy the garden’s produce (mostly fruit and vegetables, but also locally propagated plants) from the Tagsa site, which has proven to be incredibly popular, with high numbers of regular customers returning each week. Our gardeners also deliver pre-prepared veg. boxes, plants and materials, wherever/whenever this is possible.
As voiced by several community members, there is a desire for food sustainability in our islands, which our gardeners strive towards as an ultimate goal – incorporating also all outreach growing projects and the support of home-growers with their own crops and continually-expanding growing schemes.
Since the start of the (former) CCF-funded Grow Your Own Community project (ending March 2020), the horticultural project has included the commitment to establish, plan, and run the Uist schools’ gardens as well as taking charge of and overseeing their Gardening Clubs, and offering input to their Eco clubs (eg. Recycling, ‘up-cycling’, and composting masterclasses). Where the schools expected this support to be discontinued after March 2020, we offered our continued support to the 4x island primary schools through the Lockdown growing season of Spring/Summer/Autumn 2020, in the form of overseeing the smooth running and development of their gardens and respective clubs. Although this was a significant time commitment on the part of the project, we believe it to be a worthy use of time if it is to allow these clubs to continue in their current success.
The Community Gardens project continues also with its commitment to the re-using and recycling of fish-farm waste, in all of the growing schemes established by the project, saving it from going into landfill. In particular, in recent years, we have erected windbreaks from fish-netting no longer fit for purpose, old fish-tanks (80+) as compost bins and raised planters and fish-cages now re-used to form large, moveable, raised beds.
Along with the plants, our ideas for the Community Garden, our ideas continue to grow. For example, this year we are bringing together our support for people with dementia with the fulfilling and social experience of gardening, both in our Sensory Garden on site and through home visits.
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