Communities doing it for themselves

Last week I had the privilege of being shown around the community garden project in Tayport by Cllr Bill Connor and members of PLANT. I was blown away.

As in many communities, people in Tayport were looking after planters and extending the number in the town. Then they turned their attention to those odd little patches of grass every town has. They sit there, looking boring, doing nothing, so some enterprising folk decided to plant fruit trees on them. Decorative and useful: the fruit is free to anyone to pick and the remaining local abundance (which takes in many fruit trees in private gardens) is pressed into juice during a community fruit fest day each autumn.

Then a few years ago they decided to develop a community garden on some neglected ground near the centre of the town – and what a garden they are creating! Raised beds bursting with vegetables and herbs and annual flowers are tended by over a hundred volunteers with a hard core of 30-40 in which disabled residents are full and active participants. A greenhouse provides a further focus for educational activities involving local schools and nurseries; volunteers also organise special visits for local care home residents and dementia sufferers.

The vegetables are all organic and a surplus is sold every Sunday morning at the harbour, but I was told they sell out very quickly.

The garden is permanently open and accessible. Fencing is there, but only to exclude rabbits! There is no cctv. And the garden, like the town, suffers very little vandalism.

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