Grow Your Own Way – The Glasgow Charity Promoting Sustainability Through Gardening

By Cameron Macpherson

(Photograph: Pixabay)

Glasgow’s south side is in somewhat of a renaissance period. It’s a traditional neighbourhood that has kept a lot of its core elements, even against the changing identity of the city. Very much a separate entity from the bustling and frantic city centre; and arguably even more disparate from the prim and scenic west end. Much like the older sibling who is first to fly the nest, Southside has always prided itself on its independence and wears this as a badge of honour. 

However, the southside is feeling the winds of change start to blow. An influx of young professionals is contributing to the southside as it undergoes somewhat of an identity crisis. As gentrification sweeps the area, rents have risen. The pairing of this with the country facing a monumental cost of living crisis is meaning some people are even struggling to feed themselves. According to The Guardian, food prices are rising at the fastest rate in a decade and many adults even confess to going a full day without eating. Thankfully, the southside-based charity South Seeds is seeking to give people the tools to cultivate their own food. 

South Seeds is a community organisation based in the southside of Glasgow, whose mission is to make people lead more sustainable lives. One of the main ways they achieve this is through their ‘Adopt a Croft’ project. Set up in 2015, the project allows residents who live within a 20 minute walk of Queens Park (the heart of the southside) access to their own croft.  The croft houses a shared garden with soil to grow any fruit, vegetables, or produce. Successful applicants have access to the croft for a year and receive both tools and training from South Seeds. This enables them to grow their own food and develop their blossoming gardening skills. 

“The goal of the croft project was to provide the support for a more sustainable life, allowing them to grow their own veg and develop confidence in their skills. “When growing your own produce you are more focussed on seasonality, which is important when it comes to sustainability,” said Lucy Gillie, South Seeds General Manager. 

Seasonality is the focus of consuming what crops are in season in the country you are in. This can reduce your carbon footprint, as certain food can travel up to 1,500 miles to reach supermarket shelves. According to the BBC, air travel is the biggest contributor to carbon emissions, accounting for 11% of the UK’s food transport emissions. As it’s only used for highly perishable produce like berries, seasonality shifts focus  towards consuming produce that doesn’t require shipping by air freight. Aside from reducing carbon emission, growing your own produce cuts down on plastic and cardboard packaging. So, through gardening and seasonality your morning granola might not look as vibrant; but your carbon footprint will look healthier. 

Here’s what previous crofters had to say. 

“I just needed a push to get started, to just shove some seeds in the ground and then learn about caring for them as they grew. I found it really helpful looking at other crofters’ plots and chatting to them to find out their approach to growing.”

Claire, Previous South Seed Crofter

“The first few support sessions run by South Seeds helped me to get going with planting. Being around other people who were doing the same thing – learning to grow their own food – also gave me lots of inspiration and motivation to keep experimenting with new plants or ways of controlling the slugs.” 

Maria-Jose, Previous South Seed Crofter

If you live within a 20 minutes walk of Queens Park and are interested in applying then please visit their website

Deadline for applications are Monday 9 a.m. on 21st March 2022

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