Training and skills provider You Can Cook launched its “Innerleithen Can Grow” project last Thursday at St Ronan’s Primary School.
Funded by the Climate Challenge Fund to the tune of £68,150.64, it will run in partnership with the school until March 2016.
Children, staff, parents and the community turned up for the occasion. You Can Cook staff were on hand to answer queries and visitors were taken on a tour of the growing area by community gardener Kim Adams.
The main aim is to build an “edible garden” within the school grounds and introduce pupils to growing. In addition to reducing carbon emissions through producing local food, the project will provide advice and support to the community on how to grow and cook healthy, local, seasonal food and also reduce food waste.
The growing space will have raised beds along with a polytunnel to extend the growing season. Crops will be mainly salads, carrots, spring onions, lettuce, radish, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs. The garden will also have its own composting area where the community can bring their kitchen peelings and vegetable waste.
More than 40 individuals (thanks to Alex Wilson, project development officer) have already signed up as project volunteers.
Weekly gardening classes start this month for pupils and the community, and from September regular cookery classes will be held, using some of the produce from the garden, at the community centre. Carbon Conversation workshops are also to be offered to the community to encourage carbon reduction.
The aim of the programme will be to train up to four new facilitators from Innerleithen so that they can continue supporting the community after the project ends.