Linlithgow Conference have transformed an artificial surface area within the grounds of St Michael’s RC Church, Linlithgow to create a series of raised beds growing produce for their local foodbank. In October ’22 the conference hosted a “West Lothian Foodbank awareness creation” coffee morning at which the idea to transform this long disused area of the church grounds was first discussed. Following this discussion a few of our enthusiastic conference members agreed to progress the idea and initiate our own Garden Project.
The initial challenge was one of finance as the members were keen that, if possible, existing conference funds were not used. Fortunately with the help of financial donations from local businesses plus numerous other acts of charity from parishioners and other local people, the setup cost of purchasing 8 raised beds together with over 9,000 litres of organic peat free compost was covered. The raised beds are made of recycled material and were erected at a height to allow easy access for maintenance and for people with disabilities. They were filled with compost, seeds were sown and we now have a small plot growing organic vegetables in sustainably built pods and containers.
Our Parish priest has been very supportive in supplying an external tap to allow watering and which supplements our water butts. Daily watering, particularly during the sustained dry period in April, May and June ensured that within 4 weeks of the construction we were able to supply 2 Kgs of beautiful, succulent Radishes to the Foodbank.
Following this early success the return from our first season continues to be abundant. Strawberries, Courgettes, Carrots , Onions and Potatoes have been harvested with already over 100 Kgs of fresh, organically grown vegetables delivered to the Foodbank for their clients. Swede, Celeriac, Turnips and Leeks will follow in the autumn and, in short, we have been absolutely delighted with our first season.
At the initial meeting to discuss the Garden Project we were all in agreement that we should endeavour to engage the wider Linlithgow community and we have discussions underway to expand the garden and build on the early success. Hopefully this will mean that additional raised beds will be added over time and that we can not only deliver more produce to the Foodbank but also create a successful community based project for our town. We also plan to visit our local schools and offer the opportunity for younger members to get involved.
For further details of our experiences in establishing the garden, to offer help or to find out more information please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org