Food growing strategy approved

A strategy which will include practical ways to encourage people to grow food in their community was today approved at Aberdeen City Council’s City Growth and Resources Committee.

The plan, called Granite City Growing: Aberdeen Growing Food Together 2020 which runs from 2020 to 2026 in partnership with key stakeholders and sets out a clear vision for the future of food growing in the city, was unanimously approved by members of the committee.

The strategy is aimed at encouraging people to grow their own food, whether in their own garden, a community space, or an allotment. It will examine new community growing places, the number of known community food-growing spaces including environmental considerations in their site design and management, ensure local food growing will be part of a vibrant local food-growing economy, and increase numbers of people participating in food growing activities in community spaces.

It seeks to ensure everyone who wants to has access to food-growing opportunities, people are aware of the benefits of and opportunities for local food growing, and communities and decision-makers understand the link between healthy people, good, local food and a high-quality environment in and around the city.

Committee convener and Council Co-Leader, Councillor Douglas Lumsden, said: “It is tremendously heartening to see the enthusiasm people have for growing their own food as not only can it help keep food costs down and is a sustainable way of living, it’s also a healthy activity out in the fresh air.

“Our officers are working with community partners to find ways of helping communities grow food in their local areas and we’re looking forward to see how communities will take ideas forward in the next few years.”

There are 516 allotment plots across the city, and 512 registered allotment holders. The number of people on the waiting list for allotment increased from 166 in January 2019 to 306 in 2020. The reasons for the increase are thought to be the allotment applications process becoming digital last summer, increased local awareness of food-growing being in the media, public consultations and the creation of the sustainable food map, and people increasingly wanting to make food-growing a part of a lifestyle which prioritises sustainability and wellbeing.

The sustainable food map, which includes locations of community food growing spaces, allotments, farmers’ markets, farmers’ shops, The Allotment Market Stall (TAMS) where allotment owners sell their produce, social enterprises and community businesses, can be viewed here.

The Granite City Growing strategy has taken shape over the last three years following information and statistics gathered from residents, stakeholder organisations, and the City Council.