The Cairngorms community groups are sowing the seeds of sustainability

Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability

One Scottish village’s allotment scheme is on the cusp of fruition

Community groups are springing up in the Cairngorms with a common desire to get their hands dirty growing their own produce. Andrea Pearson found one village’s allotment scheme on the cusp of fruition

After Kingussie’s folk museum closed a few years ago, many local shops suffered a worrying drop in custom. The community council stepped in to see what could be done for the 13,000-strong population and a survey revealed a need for allotments – as well as craft workshops. Community councillor, Ailsa Schofield, says: ’People think in the Highlands there are acres of land but all around Kingussie is owned by developers or by estates.

There are no allotments.’ After negotiations with the local authority, and with financial support from the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Soil Association’s Food For Life initiative, the community council bought the museum site for £1, forming a regeneration company called Am Fasgadh – Gaelic for ’the shelter’.

Work is well under way creating 25 allotments, a community orchard and a craft village, with local experts such as a fruit farmer and tree surgeon offering their insights. Prospective plot holders include a mix of retired individuals, young families and two community groups – one supporting people with mental health problems, the other a church group growing veg for its weekly pensioners’ lunch.

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