In July, the Moray Council handed over a blank allotment to the Elgin Allotments Association. This is a tale of community spirit, and a shared love for food growing that has taken 10 years to reach. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Allotments, where I joined Sophie Ward from the Council's climate change team where we also caught up with two gardeners, Ian and Trudy.
As we strolled through the plots, it was evident that diversity was not just limited to what was growing, but also in how members were choosing to garden. Ian, for example, is an advocate of traditional gardening, while Trudy on the other hand, has championed the no-dig method, tending her plot with minimal soil disturbance and layers of organic matter.
For someone like me, whose prior attempts at growing food only ever fed the snails and caterpillars, the Elgin Allotments is a source of inspiration. The sight of thriving vegetables, colourful wildflowers at the gate, and the shared wisdom of the allotment community, relit a desire to grow my own food. It's a place where you can't help but catch the gardening bug and be inspired to get your hands dirty.
The Elgin Allotments are a great example of sustainable and organic gardening practices. Gardeners here are dedicated to cultivating their plots using organic methods, nurturing the soil with natural compost, and avoiding synthetic chemicals and pesticides. This commitment to organic gardening produces healthier and more environmentally friendly crops. It's no easy feat considering the challenge of clay rich soil here.
Local food growing can help reduce emissions too (no food airmiles here!) and gives us the chance to eat local and seasonal produce, which is healthy and better for our carbon footprint.
The Elgin Allotments are more than just plots of land; it's a place where community spirit thrives, where you frequently hear the phrase "did you know." It's a place where gardeners eagerly share knowledge, tips, and stories, making connections and friendships.
I left with a few gardening tips and also a fresh lettuce from Ian's plot, a reminder of the generosity and warmth that defines the Elgin Allotments community... and the part places like this play in encouraging us to take climate action.
Louise Nicol, Development Officer, Climate Action, tsiMORAY