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Field of Dreams for Allotment Open Day at SRUC Oatridge

Published Thursday, 18th September 2014 in Study at SRUC news

Allotment Open Day

There was a great turn out for the Allotment Open Day held at SRUC Oatridge Campus recently.

Members of the public came to see some of the fabulous fruit and veg that have been produced at the campus allotments by students and community groups. The day also saw the official opening of the World War 1 Garden which commemorates the Dig for Victory campaign.

The event was focused on urging West Lothian residents to start growing their own food as well as encouraging more children to take up gardening, and several new allotment families came along to see how they could create their own wee field of dreams.

Over 160 visitors quite literally got their hands dirty as they picked the produce, which included potatoes, sweetcorn, peas and beans, giant onions, kale and lettuce. People were asked for small donations for the fruit and vegetables which were given to the Linburn Centre (for the Scottish War Blinded) at Wilkieston. There were lots of great ideas for cooking with the allotment produce with demonstrations from Liam MacDonough and Dee Dewar from Sodexo. They highlighted the importance of healthy eating and spoke about how growing your own can encourage people to improve their diet.

The day, organised by Rural Connect, a two year LEADER, Lottery Heritage and SRUC funded project, went exceptionally well and this be will their last event as the project finishes at the end of this month.

Bernice Keegan from Rural Connect said: ‘It was lovely to have so many people coming to try our produce, asking questions and learning about our historical links with allotments. Seeing so many children involved really emphasised how important it is to teach the next generation where our food comes from.”

George Gilchrist, horticulture lecturer, and one of the key developers of the allotment at SRUC Oatridge Campus, said: “Passing on our knowledge to the next generation is a really important part of our role here at SRUC. It is very fulfilling to think that the Allotment Open Day could encourage children to get involved in gardening which is essential for the future of the horticulture and agriculture industry’.

The day also saw the official opening the campus’s new World War 1 Garden. On hand to cut the tartan ribbon was Sibbald Cavanagh from West Lothian Heritage Library Services who also gave an overview about the importance of The Dig for Victory campaign during the war.

All of the visitors were given a free World War 1 pack which included advice on gardening and a recipe book containing ideas from 1900 on how to cook some of the vegetables grown around that time. The garden also boasts a replica Anderson Shelter which houses new display boards showing the development of the garden and acknowledging the tremendous financial support received from the Heritage Lottery. This week delegates are coming up from London to see the garden as they are developing a similar World War 1 project next year and are keen to see how it was done at SRUC.

Details and more pictures of the event and the free pack can be downloaded from the Rural Connect website. For further information please contact Eric Burton at eric.burton@sruc.ac.uk, or 01506 864 800.

Photo Caption: Bernice Keegan and Sibbald Cavanagh.

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