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Glasgow Allotments Forum Newsletter
Issue 12: September 2021

 The GAF newsletter wants to keep everyone in touch with the wide range of wonderful allotment activities in Glasgow.  If you have contacts who might like to know what is going on please feel free to forward this email to them. If they are interested then they can use the button at the bottom of the letter to enroll themselves onto the mailing list.

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How Can You Store your Harvest?

GAF Open Zoom Session

Thursday October 7th 7 – 8pm on Zoom

 

No idea what to do with your courgettes?  Run ragged by runner beans?  Worried about the cost of seeds, or alarmed by rising food prices?

Join in with GAF’s Zoom session and find out how you can make more use of what you grow on your plot or save seeds from your own plants.

Click on this link to register for the event.

Recipes for a Courgette Glut
It can be quite hard for the non professional with a domestic freezer to get a good result freezing raw vegetables.  In my experience fresh veg has a very unfortunate tendency to go soggy and lose any crispness when frozen by me.  However freezing cooked dishes does not seem to give the same problems.  The courgette is a very versatile vegetable and I personally have courgettes coming out of my ears just now, it is amazing how productive a few courgette plants can be. So I am concentrating here on ideas for freezable courgette recipes. 

Firstly do not forget sweet recipes.  If you go on line and type courgette (or zucchini) muffins into the search box you will find a wealth of easy, delicious options where grated courgette is added to the basic muffin batter along with a selection of raisins, nuts, chocolate, other dried fruit...  The muffins that do not get eaten immediately can be easily bagged and frozen for use a few weeks later.  Courgette cake (sort of like carrot cake) or courgette bread are also delicious and can be cut into slices and frozen.

On the savory side dishes such as Ratatouille or Aubergine Parmigiana, with the aubergines replaced by courgettes, freeze beautifully stored in glass or plastic boxes and are there when you do not feel like cooking, to be defrosted and baked (or even microwaved) for an easy lunch or supper.

Soup freezes particularly successfully (just remember it expands on freezing so always leave a bit of head space in the container) so here are a couple of courgette soup recipes contributed by plotholders at the Sir John Stirling Maxwell site:

Courgette and potato soup (thanks to Gordon of Sir John Stirling Maxwell Allotments)
Ingredients:  for 1 serving, scale up for greater quantity.
- 1/2 medium courgette, chopped
- 1 onion
- 1 potato
- 1 veg stock cube

Instructions:
Fry courgette and onion until tender
Pulverise raw potato in a blender until powdery (will provide starchiness)  Add all ingredients to a pot and cover with water, simmer for 45 mins., season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serving options: Top with grated cheese and / or natural yogurt

Courgette, ginger and turmeric soup (thanks to John of Sir John Stirling Maxwell Allotments)

Ingredients:
- 3 courgettes
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp turmeric
- 1l stock (veg or chicken, according to preference)
- Salt & pepper

Method:
Chop the courgettes.  Put a little oil in a pan and add the courgettes and ginger.  Fry gently till the courgettes are soft and slightly just beginning to turn a bit gold.  Add the turmeric and stock.  Bring to the boil and cook till everything is soft.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Use a blender to make the soup smooth if that is how you like it.

Progress on New Rules and Regulations
The Open Forum Working Group

A working group which has been meeting regularly was formed as a result of the Open Forum session  on July 1st. We have made the assumption, following on from that initial meeting, that the majority of site associations would prefer to remain as unincorporated organisations rather than going through the process of incorporation and becoming leaseholders.

The people who volunteered to join the group are drawn from 11 allotment sites across Glasgow and the questions we have tried to address are:

  1. What should be the common features of Glasgow allotment associations’ constitutions and rules AND why should these features be present?
  2. What should be covered in an agreement between Glasgow City Council as landlord and Allotment Associations as their agents as to who is responsible for which management functions?
  3. How might we move to a transparent and recorded scheme of delegation which clarifies the relationship of each association with the GCC?

 It has taken five sessions in all, generating  lively discussions and very useful exchanges of information and experience in the process - despite the apparent ‘dryness’ of the topic.

We expect to publish the outcomes of our work to our members by the end of October. We will be aiming to get in touch with all the associations on GCC sites in November to collect views and contributions from you all so that we can adequately represent your views on these matters to Glasgow City Council as GAF representatives on the Food Strategy Mentoring Group. In addition the results can be used to inform other relevant stakeholders of our members’ position on these issues.

Members of the group come from the following allotments: Budhill & Springboig, Croftburn, Hamilton Hill, Kelvinside, Mansewood, Merrilees, New Victoria Gardens, Oatlands Gate, Queens Park, Sir John Maxwell, Springburn.

Tour Glasgow's allotments by bike

Report on the September Bike Tour

Glasgow Community Food Network's Food and Climate Action Project, along with Bike for Good, ran a very successful bike tour of three allotment sites on the Southside. The group visited Queen's Park allotments, South West Allotments and New Victoria Gardens. Members at each site gave fascinating tours and participants were able to see the diversity of allotments and find out more about the history, biodiversity and community engagement of allotment sites. Everyone was very enthusiastic and more tours are planned. Get in touch with rebeccar_gcfn@outlook.com if you would like to find out more or offer to host a group on another bike tour.

Action for allotments
Judy Wilkinson, GAF commitee member

For those of us lucky enough to have an allotment it is part of where we live, our place. As well as actively gardening we are constantly talking about what we grow, how we grow it and our harvest - how we cook and preserve it. We share stories about squirrels, birds and foxes. We laugh about our successes and failures. Our plots are part of our lives.

 However, as the long waiting lists across Glasgow show, many people, particularly in flats without gardens would also like a plot. Interest in allotments, urban agriculture and orchards is growing fast. We need more land allocated for cultivation so that there are local growing spaces for everyone who wishes to have access to a patch of good soil.

 Fine words about the provision of growing spaces have emerged over the years in legislation and policies. The Community Empowerment Act places a duty on local authorities to provide a plot of up to 250 square metres for everyone who requests it. The Guidance to Local Authorities for implementing the Act set out the benefits of Grow Your Own. Locally Glasgow City (GCC) has published a Food Growing Strategy and endorsed a Glasgow Food Plan; they have also produced a map of vacant and derelict land and green spaces.

 We now need more than words. We need urgent action to get people growing in every corner of Glasgow. There is land, not only the numerous vacant and derelict spaces that blight the city but good land for growing. For example, there used to be allotments in many Parks and a few still exist. Using 10% of the land in every Park could provide up to 5000 new plots. Unused golf courses and bowling greens could supply even more.

 We recognise the austerity that GCC is facing but if the officers concerned with food, health and the environment brought together local people wanting to grow with the Community Development Workers and the Health Improvement folk they could co-create a dynamic food system in their neighbourhood. Working in partnership they would find people with the skills and experience needed to co-create a growing space. With a recognition of the contribution growing can make to addressing current crises and a commitment to working together we can really change Glasgow. The energy is there - see what happened in Cuba.

 GAF committee members are doing what they can to bring about the change that is needed. Two GAF members, Jenny Reeves and Sarah Henry, are on the group formed by the Council to progress the implementation of the Food Growing Strategy.  GAF has convened a working group to look at a city-wide guide for allotment association constitutions and rules and a scheme of delegation that will clarify the relations between site associations and the GCC as landlord.  Several committee members are working closely with the Glasgow Community Food Network, in particular the Food Climate Action group who are raising awareness of issues associated with climate change, environmental degradation, health etc and how these can be addressed through food and food growing.

 The Glasgow Food Plan lists several actions that GAF members can undertake and GAF committee member, Judy Wilkinson, is on the Community Food Working Group which is charged with implementing and reviewing these actions on behal

 In the wider national context we contribute to the Grow Green Network, to SURF’s 20 Minute Neighbourhood Initiative and to the Scottish Food Coalition campaign for a Good Food Nation Bill.

 Actions:

If you want an allotment

(i)       Join ‘The People’s Plot’ - group of wannabe plot holders formed after a GAF event last November.

(ii)     submit your own response to the Scottish Government Food Strategy Consultation -

(iii)    contact your local Councillors (remember you have 3 or 4 in each ward) and ask them what they propose to do. You could also contact your local community council, housing association or community centre and ask them to support you by bringing local people together.

 If you have a plot already and would like to help others also enjoy the benefits you have then

(i)       Read GAF response to the Food Consultation (we will circulate this very soon) and submit your own response and ask your association to submit one as well

(ii)     If you are a member of a political party please ask your MSP’s to support ‘land for allotments’.

(iii)    Post pictures of your plot and  stories about your experiences as a plot-holder on our Facebook Page or Instagram so we show what allotments are all about and why they are needed!

 

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GAF Newsletter · Garnethill Multicultural Centre · 21 Rose Street · Glasgow, Lanarkshire G3 6RE · United Kingdom

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