Thursday, 19 April 2012

Allotment town – one third of all Highland plots are in Sunny Nairn!

Last night around 30 folk attended a meeting at the Waverly hotel. They were mainly the new intake for the 37 Sandown 2 plots that will be allocated in mid-May. Dick Youngson, chair of NAS gave them a brief introduction to the Society. He told them that when the new plots were ready there would be over 100 allotments in Nairn at Sandown, Mill Road and two other micro sites in the town Centre. There was a sense of déjà vu about the meeting as it is incredible that after securing and developing the Mill Road site last year the Society have pulled it off again with the opening of Sandown 2 now on the horizon.

Dick outlined the history of the Sandown plots from the mid-eighties when the Viewfield plots were closed and new provision made on the edge of town. He outlined how the Society was formed in 2005 in response to fears that the Sandown plots could be developed. From the formation of the group NAS have never looked back. There has been a sea change in the attitude of Highland Council to allotments too, not only in Nairn but throughout the Highlands, this was evidenced by the presence of Keith Walker, the Council’s allotments officer.

The new members were given the opportunity to ask a few questions and meet each other and the committee. Keith gave all the new starts a survey that will be filled in anonymously now and one year on to gauge new plotters attitudes to the health benefits of working a plot. This is an initiative that Keith and other allotment officers throughout Scotland are working. Keith said that Holyrood is showing a great interest in allotment gardening and he had received Freedom of Information requests from MSPs in relation to questions about plots in the Highlands.

He told us for the Society’s information after the meeting: “At the beginning of 2010 when we started implementing the new allotments policy, there were 7 sites in Highland with a total of 101 plots. Right now, that’s increased to 15 sites and 266 plots. With  Sandown2 in operation, that will increase to 303 plots,”

This means that now one third of all plots in the Highlands are in Nairn. The Society will not stop looking for more sites however. The waiting list is growing again. If you are a landowner who could help or even a householder with a big garden you aren’t using, then the Society wants to hear from you.

Society representatives attended a meeting at the hospital on Friday the 13th. We went in response to an e-mail from Sam at Sky Delights. Here’s part of what she had to say:

“This is Sam here from SKY Delights (but in my capacity as a keen supporter of the new 'Food for Life' group established by Kate Clark). From various discussions that I have had about local gardening/ healthy eating/ waste reduction and related projects in the locality, what has become apparent to me is basically twofold: First, that there are a lot of amazing things happening in Nairn with a lot of exciting ideas and people passionate about healthy, local food production and consumption. Second, it seems that not everyone (especially me!) is aware of everything that is going on and how we might best help each other and promote what we are all doing - both as individuals and as community groups.”

It was a very productive meeting and a chance for plotters, other gardeners, and many others with an interest in producing food locally, to meet up and chat. Many present want to see more healthy food grow, sold and eaten in the Nairnshire area. It makes sense in terms of health, ecology and economics. There will be more meetings in the future. If anyone is interested mail us and we’ll forward your details to the coordinator of this initiative.

No comments:

Post a Comment