Garthdee Allotments

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Sonia Parker Degree Show

You may remember Sonia Packer visiting our site to take photos for her RGU degree project. Sonia has been kind enough to invite us to her final degree show – see details below.

Degree show invitation (2)

Farewell Mhairi

MhairiWe learned this week that Mhairi from the RGU Student Plot and Community Garden Project will be leaving soon to take up a new post. While we are delighted Mhairi is moving on in her career, we will all be very sorry to see her go. The energy she brought to the plot and project was exceptional and her contributions to our general meetings were always well-considered and helpful. We will miss her enthusiasm, bright ideas and wide knowledge of community involvement and funding opportunities.I am sure we will all want to wish her happy landings in her new post and every success in her new roles and responsibilities. Hopefully she will manage to pop back from time to time to see how the RGU projects are getting on.

IYN Assessment Report

iynJim Henderson, our It’s Your Neighbourhood Assessor has passed on his assessor report. It makes very good reading. Jim visited our site in early August and was clearly impressed with many of our activities: he awarded us a second to top-level grading and considered us to be ‘thriving’.

DSC_1904It is clear that all our allotment holders have contributed to this success for GFAA as Jim  remarked on the big number of well looked after plots he saw as well as the well maintained communal areas of our site.

Here are some highlights from the report:

We scored 32/40 points for community participation with special mention made of help for novice plotters; our community orchard; support for TAMS; the RGU connection; social and communal activities to maintain the site; and our occasional training courses.  

IMAG0218We scored 25/30 points on evidence of environmental responsibility, getting a special mention for our promotion of composting; waste management; encouragement of educational projects from primary to university level; use of natural materials and approaches to deal with problem areas; encouragement of wildlife with bird feeders and insect boxes around the site.

Gardening achievement scored 25/30 with praise given for the variety of fruit, veg and flowers grown across the site; the sharing of advice and plants; development of wild flower areas; and the use of small plots to help new plotters.

Picture 606Jim indicated he looks forward to seeing more of the exciting new project with Broomhill Primary School and the raised bed plots planned for development with RGU in the Community access area. His score of 82/100 leaves us within striking distance of the ‘outstanding’ level on our very first attempt, so we have a clear target for the coming season.

A big thank you to all who contributed to this success on their own plots and on communal areas and to our principal partners, including the City Council and RGU. It is very pleasing to see our combined efforts recognised within the IYN scheme and we hope this success will encourage even wider participation and more new projects in the coming year.

RGU Invitation

Mhairi and the team over at the RGU Community Garden Project are holding a little get together at the garden on Thursday, 14th of August from 4 – 6 pm and have kindly extended a welcome to all GFAA plot holders.  Here’s what they have planned – it sounds great!
In full bloom

In full bloom

We are holding a wee bash down at the garden to say hello to new volunteers, say thanks to our more weather worn gardeners and just generally celebrate the lovely spot our community garden has turned into.
Everyone is welcome, including new visitors!
The plan is to hold a pot-luck, so please bring some food or drink if possible; although, we promise not to turn you away at the gate if you turn up empty handed.
You are welcome to come along and simply enjoy the good eats, great company and beautiful surroundings; but for those of you looking to get crafty and creative we will have a range of activities on. Depending on what folk are interested in these can include:
Scarecrow making
Making nettle string
Up-cycling wood pallets
Designing a vertical veg garden
Creating a sculptural centre piece
Wild food/foraging walk
We have said the party will take place between 4 and 6pm but feel free to turn up earlier or stay later if you wish. We will most likely be pottering around in the garden before hand.
Everyone is welcome (very much including other plotters on the site) to get involved, or just pop along and say hi. There will no doubt be a plentiful supply of tea, coffee and baked goods!
The RGU Community Garden is on the plot to the South East of the site – just head for the new and impressive polytunnel!
RGU Community Garden

RGU Community Garden

First Class News from RGU

Plotters will remember a few months back being asked to help an RGU student, Brittany Forbes, with her Honour’s Degree Project in which she tried to quantify the health and well-being benefits of working an allotment.  Brittany has been kind enough to send a summary of her final report and it brings good news.

A comparison of fruit and vegetable consumption and wellbeing in allotment holders and non-allotment holders

While there is some research to show that allotment gardening has a beneficial effect on general health and wellbeing, there is currently little quantitative evidence in the UK to support this. The aim of this research was to assess fruit and vegetable consumption and general wellbeing in allotment participants and non-participants. A paper based questionnaire was sent to 468 Aberdeen City Council allotment holders with a second copy of the questionnaire for a matched control (a friend or colleague of the same sex, age and postcode, who does not grow their own produce either on an allotment or in a garden). A total of 104 questionnaires were completed and returned (11% response rate), with 45 pairs of questionnaires from allotment holders and a suitable matched control . Allotment holders (n=45) reported consuming more fruit and vegetables habitually, a median of 7 portions from a 24 hour recall, compared to the 45 matched non-allotment holders who reported a median of 6 (p = 0.01). In addition there was a statistically significant higher proportion of allotment holders consuming the recommended 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day compared to non-allotment holders (p = 0.03). Allotment holders reported higher satisfaction levels regarding time spent outdoors, exercise and diet as a whole compared to non-allotment holders. However there was no significant difference with satisfaction of other aspects of wellbeing, such as weight and life as a whole. Overall, the present research highlights the potential contribution of allotment gardens to a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.

I am pleased to report that Brittany’s interesting study helped her gain a First Class Honours Degree. Thanks to all GFAA members who acted as a focus group as part of her research design activity or completed and returned her questionnaire.

RGU Plot Update

Our relationship with The Robert Gordon University and its Student Association continues to flourish. The Student Plot took a major step forward in the last week or so with the delivery of 100 tons of topsoil to raise its level and help with water-logging.

Green-fingers to the fore...

Green-fingers to the fore…

This weekend some of the student team were hard at work creating beds in preparation for sowing and planting.  We all know just how much work is involved in taking over a new plot and wish them well for the future. They are off to a flying start.

Further information on the RGU students’ sustainable community garden project is available on the RGU website.

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