Review of the Year
We hope this newsletter finds you fit and healthy and as Winter approaches we thought this would be a good time to have a look at what we were able to do this year and what our plans are for next year.
The lockdown in March couldn’t have come at a worse time for us as we would normally be hosting our giveaway events. With over 700kg of seed potatoes ready to be given out we had to look at creative ways to manage this year’s distributions. We made deliveries to over 100 schools and community groups, and did manage to get stock out to allotmenteers in the North East thanks to the help of folk at Aden & Peterhead Allotments, but sadly it was hard to get out to individuals. Camphill were able to take the residual balance of our seed potatoes and it was great that they could get those planted and growing.
Our feedback from those that did grow was that it was a pretty good year for potatoes, with a lot of positives about the Kestrels and Arran Pilots in particular. It is always good to hear about what grew well when we make our decisions about what to buy for the following season – those will be on our list!
We post photos of how (y)our crops are doing on our Facebook page and website, so check them out for more information.
We estimate that there has now been over 28,000kg of produce grown locally as a result of our project.
BBC Beechgrove and the Shoebox Garden Competition
We were keen to think of a way to keep children active during the prolonged period of them being out of school, so the response to our Shoebox Garden competition was fantastic. We had run it the previous year, but this year we had entries from all over Scotland and our Facebook page views for it were almost 20,000! Congratulations to everyone who took part – it was a very difficult decision to come up with the winners – and thanks to the BBC for featuring it on Beechgrove. We thought that the children presenting videos of their gardens were superb! Here is a link to that programme https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000lrlm/beechgrove-2020-episode-18
We will be running this again in 2021 and we hope that we can have even more children taking part. Watch out for more details in future newsletters.
We were delighted to become partners with two groups this year. Keep Growing Aberdeen looked for ways to get families growing and sharing seeds and seedlings during the pandemic by providing them with kits to get started, and as a group we managed to get over 260 kits out to people throughout the city. With fellow partners CFine, ACHSCP and Tullos Community Garden we hope to be able to build on the success of this next year. There were lots of positives about the project and once the evaluation report is completed we will share this with you.
It was also great for us to become a partner in the Countryside Classroom. This is aimed more at our Garden School activities but gives us the ability to access lots of resources for teachers and hopefully get more people engaged with our school educational programme. We are adding schools all of the time so if you are an educator and want more information about this free resource please send us an email
We were also honoured to be chosen as the exemplar of community engagement working by the University of Aberdeen as part of their Vision 2040, and to meet up with MSPs at Holyrood in February. We have also received 2 motions from the Scottish Parliament congratulating OSF on our work.
We hope that with the arrival of vaccines against Covid we will all start to get back to some form of normality later next year. We are making plans already, and aim to be holding socially distanced give away events in the Spring so we can give out seed potatoes to families and individuals as well as schools and communities. Look out for announcements in our next newsletter! We are still looking for additional places to do this in Aberdeenshire, so if you have any thoughts please get in touch.
We are also keen to extend our help to communities by giving away free seeds as well as advice our support. Our volunteer list is growing too but there is always room for more, so if you would like to be involved in our community growing initiative, send us a message on our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care, stay safe and happy growing
All @ OSF