Market gardening events
Soil Association Scotland is part of a coalition developing a new project – Agroecology: Enabling the Transition – which aims to facilitate knowledge exchange on agroecology across Scotland; to widen and deepen understanding of agroecology effectively, we have been working with a farmer-to-farmer/crofter-to-crofter cooperative learning approach.
Six groups are meeting across Scotland to share their experiences, each facilitated by either the LWA, PFLA, NFFN, Propagate, Nourish or Soil Association Scotland (find out more about them here). Soil Association Scotland is facilitating a regional group in Central Scotland looking at agroecological market gardening; we have already held two of the three planned on-farm events (with topics decided by the group) which went extremely well with excellent turnouts and amazing weather!
Tomnah’a Market Garden, 25 October 2022
Our first event was hosted by the wonderful Tomnah’a Market Garden team (special thanks to the brilliant Catherine Kwella!) at Comrie Croft, near Crieff, where they grow fresh flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs and hens on a 5-acre site with the aim of providing for the local community and connecting people to the land.
The event focused on effective soil nutrient strategies and covered all things compost in detail. We were very excited to be joined by expert Audrey Litterick – Director and Scottish Team Lead at Earthcare Technical – to help us explore the use of composts, digestates, fertilisers and other organic materials.
The event began with a delicious lunch provided by the Tea Garden Café at Comrie Croft and glorious apples grown on site. This was followed by Audrey’s presentation and a Q&A in the barn; we also looked at some compost samples brought by participants. This was followed by a tour of the farm (including the compost heap!) and continued conversations. The day closed with further sharing of experiences over tea and coffee.
We were delighted to be joined by attendees from across Scotland: Dundee, Dollar, Aberfeldy, Perth, Edinburgh, Fife, Killin – a combination of newcomers and people who have been growing for a long time!
Lauriston Farm, 28 November 2022
Our second event, hosted by Lauriston Farm in Edinburgh, was a chance to explore the challenges, opportunities and steps involved in starting an agroecological market garden with a planning-agroforestry-in-your-market-garden bonus! The Lauriston team (Jossie, Dav, Lisa and Toni) shared their experience on getting started and running a market garden, and their plans going forward.
Lauriston Farm is a project coordinated by the Edinburgh Agroecology Cooperative (EAC) and the plan is to transform 100 acres of land in North-West Edinburgh; the farm had previously focused on sheep-grazing but the goal is to diversify operations for people and wildlife to benefit. To do so they have established a market garden and will also focus on managing community allotments and implementing actions to enhance wildlife habitat, as well as planting over 10,000 trees to implement agroforestry on site. We were invited to visit and learn more about it and to share experiences around agroforestry.
The day began with a farm and market garden tour with Jossie and Dav. We talked about the wider context and evolution of Lauriston Farm and the Edinburgh Agroecology Co-op, including details on the setting up of the market garden and plans for development.
Lunch – a delicious spread from their own produce – was shared in the market garden cabin, followed by a field tour looking at agroforestry in the farm and market garden context and a discussion with Toni Dickson about Lauriston Farm’s use and development of agroforestry.
Our next event will be taking place in January – we will keep you posted – and we will also be hosting two webinars in the new year.
The Agroecology: Enabling the Transition programme has been funded by The Scottish Government through the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fun and involves a coalition which, in addition to Soil Association Scotland, brings together Nourish Scotland, Landworkers’ Alliance, Pasture for Life, the Nature Friendly Farming Network and Propagate.