New funding backs ‘growing your own’ on Bute - and much more too

The workforce at Bute Produce's Ashfield site on the southern edge of Rothesay.
The workforce at Bute Produce's Ashfield site on the southern edge of Rothesay.

More details have been released of how Fyne Futures plans to spend new grant support of £48,700 from Scotland’s Climate Challenge Fund.

As we reported on Thursday, the money will be used to support the next evolution of the Bute Produce Horticulture Training Centre, at Ashfield on the southern edge of Rothesay.

The project aims to help meet Fyne Future’s aims of creating skills development and employment opportunities in the context of a low carbon future for Bute.

Two years of development work will be transformed into several developments on the ground, including:

* an edible teaching garden to enable people of all ages to access green space and gain practical experience of where fresh food comes from. The project will clearly demonstrate how to achieve carbon reductions. People will learn the full life cycle from seed to composting.

* workshops in seed saving and ‘growing your own’

* a Certificate in Practical Horticulture accredited by the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh

* workshops in seasonal cookery

* a ‘Master Composter’ programme accredited by the ‘Garden Organic’ charity.

Fyne Futures’ general manager, Reeni Kennedy-Boyle, said: “A host of other activities will be planned throughout the year, all linked to demonstrating the impact of climate change on our ability to sustain ourselves, and the contribution of the modern food supply chain on the environment.

“There will be a number of activities that are about understanding the bio-diversity of the garden and about improving bio-diversity with small actions that are easily replicated at home.”

The Bute Produce garden itself will see further tree-planting, adding to that already undertaken this month thanks to a donation from the Woodlands Trust.

The garden will also be expanded through the provision of ten ‘permaculture’ produce plots, capable of seeing seeding, planting and harvesting activity throughout the year, an additional poly-tunnel to provide additional under-cover growing and teaching space, and 15 more ‘raised beds’ for community use.

Other activities will include three ‘sowing green manure’ events to demonstrate natural soil improvement, and a ‘wild flower meadow sowing’ event to increase the garden’s biodiversity.

“There will a special link with our school community,” Reeni continued, “which will support delivery of Curriculum for Excellence at all levels.

“This will include working with Skills for Work classes, XL Groups and the interdisciplinary learning programme.

“We will offer 2 modern apprenticeships opportunities to support our existing horticultural team and further development of professional horticulture training on Bute.

“This will add to our existing programme of supporting volunteers and offering work-based training opportunities to long term unemployed.

“Bute Produce Genesis will help us develop a range of quality training materials and permanent interpretation boards that will help our community learn and grow their carbon literacy.

“Finally, we would like to undertake feasibility and business planning to enable the next stage of development of the training centre which will see the realisation of permanent classroom space and teaching café infrastructure.”