Partnership and communication are seen as the main courses worth following to serve up a dream for healthy, sustainable food.
A project has been under way for several years to create garden allotments for residents in and around the Falkland area, and provide an ‘allotment hub’ for home-grown, organic fruit and vegetables.
Preparing the ingredients is the Falkland & the Lomonds Transition Community, which has a quest to build a resilient, sustainable community in the face of the threat posed by over-use of carbon-based fuel and resultant climate change.
Allotment garden spaces were regarded as an important priority for food, while surveys and questionnaires indicated around 40 Falkland residents wanted an allotment, and most preferred an organic set-up.
A series of meetings and workshops is under way, although in Falkland itself, some reservations have been expressed about the proposed site of the allotments, in a field next to Westport.
However, Transition Community chairman Rod Crawford is hopeful the differences can be addressed by talking and listening.
“We aim to listen to the points raised and hopefully respond to questions in the run-up to a planning application,” he said.
“This is very much a partnership approach between local landowner, Fife Council and a local community group, which we hope will end with people being able to grow their own healthy, organic, sustainable food on their doorstep.”
The group has been working on the allotment plan since 2009 and a small grant from the Big Lottery last year gave members fresh impetus “after many pitfalls and false dawns,” said Rod.
Renewed enthusiasm and a desire to work in partnership were expressed by Falkland Estate and Fife Council, he added, to respond to the desire of local people to get their own growing space.
“We have pushed ahead with The Falkland and the Lomond’s Allotment Hub project, which is based on the idea that everyone should have access to good food,” added Rod.
“The project aims to develop community-managed allotment provision in the Lomond Hill’s villages catchment area, in partnership with Falkland Estate and Fife Council.”
A key theme was to be inclusive and to promote access to allotment provision across the villages under the Lomonds.
A community allotment management group, from Falkland and the Lomond villages, would be developed to ensure the voices of local people were taken into account in the development of allotment provision, said Rod.
Already begun is a series of workshops, to be followed by a visit to Balbirnie allotment and a community lunch featuring local, sustainable food across the villages of Falkland, Dunshalt, Auchtermuchty, Freuchie, Newton of Falkland and Strathmiglo.
“These events were designed in part to provide an opportunity for community consultation regarding the allotment project,” explained Rod.
“Thus far, interest has been strong, with a very positive response from the bulk of the community.”
However, at the first meeting in Falkland, it appeared the location, rather than the proposal, was the problem, with concerns raised by some Westport householders living next to the field.
Loss of privacy and an open outlook, as well as an increase in traffic, were among some of the fears expressed.
However, with the general level of support for allotments, and the willingness to talk, it’s hoped an agreement can be reached.
Active for around eight years, Falkland & the Lomonds Transition Community has had two other priority areas – transport and fuel – as well as food.
It has had success in helping to mount transport initiatives like a local Cyclestart group, and a walking and cycling map of the Lomonds’ area.
Regarding fuel, it worked with the Falkland Centre for Stewardship when it set up a recent wood-fuel initiative.
The visit to Balbirnie allotment is proposed for tomorrow (Saturday) at 11am – meet at the Falkland fountain at 10.30am.
On Sunday, December 6, the community lunch takes place at 1pm in the Falkland Centre for Stewardship.