SAGS has been part of the Living Garden at the annual Gardening Scotland Show near Edinburgh for many years now. Living Garden mentors is an exciting volunteer opportunity to provide support to Eco-Schools entering the ‘One Planet Picnic Pocket Garden competition’ – the winning gardens will be displayed in the Living Garden next year (2nd – 4th June). As a volunteer mentor, you would offer up to two hours of time (this can be more if you wish to) to support a local school, but you should not produce the design or build the garden on behalf of the school. If you would be interested in becoming a volunteer mentor, please get in touch with our secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org), as soon as possible and not later than 12th December and she’ll send you further details about what’s involved.
Archive for the 'SAGS News & Campaigns' Category
Researcher Janine Giffiths-Lee from the University of Sussex is studying the effects of wild flowers in allotments and urban gardens on pollinator populations. This spring a ‘citizen science’ project is starting in which she wants to involve keen gardeners from all over the UK.
If you click on the thumbnail to the left (for a full sized flyer) you can see more information and full contact details . To take part you should get in contact on or before February 12. Contact can be through a Facebook group but if you do not have a Facebook account just contact Janine directly by email.
This is basically how the project works:
1) You register your interest by 12th Feb 2016 by using the link on the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/
2) You are sent a project pack, which includes a pack of wildflowers, sampling equipment and detailed instructions.
3) You sow the ‘Sow Wild!’ wildflower seeds in your allotment or garden in Spring 2016.
4) You sample insects in the wildflower patch in summer, using pan traps, and send them back to us.
5) We let you know what is pollinating your garden or allotment!
6) You repeat the sampling in summer 2017.
Its Your Neighbourhood is a non-competitive community environmental improvement campaign run by the Keep Scotland Beautiful charity in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society. The campaign is based around the three themes of Community Participation, Environmental Responsibility and Gardening Achievement. It is designed to attract volunteer led community groups which are cleaning and beautifying their neighbourhoods. Keep Scotland Beautiful rewards groups through a series of certificates to acknowledge the good work being done on behalf of their communities.
This year 8 allotment sites from around Scotland took part in the campaign of which 6 were awarded the highest level 5 (outstanding) certificate. In addition 2 (Slopefield and Holmlea) of these were awarded Certificates of Distinction for consistent improvement over the years. SAGS would like to congratulate all the participating sites for their initiative. It would be wonderful if more sites joined in next year. To find out about the campaign and how to take part go to the Keep Scotland Beautiful web site.
Watch this space for the results of the award, and photos of proud SAGS representatives living it up at the awards ceremony on November 19.
SAGS have been short listed for the prestigious Herald newspaper Public Campaign of the year Award 2015. This is recognition of the collective effort in which the SAGS committee with allotment Forums, Federations, Associations and individual plot-holders from across Scotland worked together on the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. An effort in which everyone’s individual skills and knowledge was needed to respond to the numerous Consultations and then legal documents surrounding the Bill. The final culmination of an immense amount of time and effort was a concerted campaign involving the press and many MSPs to ensure that the unique identity of allotments was protected and that everyone who wishes can have access to an allotment plot of 250 sq.m. in a reasonable time scale at a reasonable rent.
The new Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act brings new rights, duties and responsibilities which could have a huge effect on allotments in Scotland. This event, to be held on December 2 at Victoria Quay, Edinburgh is being organised by the Grow Your Own Working Group. It will act as an introduction to all parts of the bill affecting community growing and open/green space – not just Part 9 Allotments. There is much to cover, and some parts of the Act are still being worked out through guidance and supplementary legislation. So this is planned as just the first of a number of events. It should be of real interest to all who want to preserve and protect allotment provision in Scotland.
For full details of the event and information on how to register to attend please click this link: An_Introduction_to_the_Community_Empowerment_Act_programme_ 021215
Today in parliament people power was shown to work. The Community Empowerment Bill was passed through the Scottish Parliament and in Part 7, on allotments, amendments were accepted by the Scottish Government that addressed all the major concerns raised by SAGS during the consultation period. The amended bill should protect and enhance Scotland’s allotment community into the future.
The main concerns raised by SAGS and addressed by the amendments related to:
- Statutory protection of allotments – local authorities will now need to consult with ministers before closing a site and will have to provide a replacement if there is demonstrable demand.
- Plot Size – 250 sq m has been defined as the size of a standard plot with the flexibility that people can ask for a smaller plot if the standard size is too big for them to manage
- Time on waiting lists – local authorities are now required to maintain a central waiting list of people wanting an allotment and to take reasonable steps to increase provision if waiting list numbers are greater than 50% of the exisiting number of plots, or if someone has been on the waiting list for 5 years or more
- Fair Rents – allotment rents must be set at a rate that reflects both the level of service provision and the plotholder’s ability to pay.
These amendments were brought about by the dedication and hard work of hundreds of SAGS members who emailed, lobbied and generally persuaded their elected representatives to take allotments seriously as a valuable resource for food, health, environmental quality and human happiness. So-A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED.
The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) is running its first ever photography competition featuring greenspaces in the Central Scotland Area. Greenspace can mean a lot of things. The parks that people play in, pathways that are used for cycling or walking to libraries and schools, the trees that are planted in the middle of a high street, an allotment where local people are growing their own vegetables – that’s just to name a few.
CSGN are looking for the best images of greenspace and green infrastructure that the CSGN area has to offer. There are three categories. Winning entries in each category will receive £250 and up to 12 shortlisted entries will receive £50 each.
For full details of categories, entry deadlines, the precise area covered by CSGN and other terms and conditions of entry click this link:
Wouldn’t it be nice if an allotment photograph was a winner!
Readers of our November 2014 newsletter will know that last year Edinburgh City Council was proposing to raise allotment rents to generate a surplus of £150,000 per year from the allotment community, over and above what it cost to maintain the allotment estate.
This would mean increasing the rental for a full size plot to around £300 per year. FEDAGA, the representative organisation for plot holders in Edinburgh, mounted a very active and well supported campaign against this rise. Apart from anything else it was felt that to generate a large surplus contravened the duty to charge a fair rent laid down in the 1950 allotment act.
Now we have the good news that Edinburgh Council has taken the rent rise proposals off the agenda, so Edinburgh allotmenteers can afford their seeds!
What do a senior politician, four civil servants and an army of gardeners have in common? The answer is: a passion to empower communities and to improve outcomes for ordinary people from all walks of life. This is the main reason why the new Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment was to be found walking around Inverleith Allotments in Edinburgh on a truly beautiful but very cold day in the middle of January.
By accepting SAGS invitation the Minister was able to observe a working allotment at first hand and SAGS was able to discuss directly with the Minister the implications of the new Community Empowerment Bill for allotment communities across Scotland.
This innovative and wide ranging piece of legislation is set to transform the way in which local authorities provide services and the relationship between people on the ground and their local authorities. Indeed, in many cases, the legislation will open up routes for communities themselves to take ownership and management of local services.
The concept of grassroots involvement and self directed development however is not new to allotment communities across Scotland. Inverleith allotments is only one example of the many successful self-sustaining sites where people from all walks of life and circumstances get together to solve problems, feed their families and care for the soil. The current legislation covering allotments has existed for over 65 years and although it has been unable to keep up with demand from the growing number of people wishing to become plot holders it has not caused undue burdens. We trust that any new legislation brought forward, either as part of this Bill or at a later stage, will preserve and further extend existing protections. Measures to retain the definition of a traditional allotment and also measures to facilitate the development of further sites will be the key to protecting and empowering the traditional allotment community and the many people who identify with and aspire to join it.