Plotters will remember that Karolina Gombert visited us some weeks back conducting interviews for this study.  Karolina has been kind enough to send us an interim report of findings – stressing that these are interim and provisional at this stage and subject to change before final reporting.  Karolina and the team have picked out these common themes from their interviews and they make for very interesting reading:

-participants considered food growing a lifestyle choice (with its natural benefits)
-this had a number of benefits, ie. health benefits, being outdoors, socialising and recreation
-thus, food growing had not necessarily influenced health/environmental awareness, and eating behaviours much; but participants were aware before. According to participants, the environmental awareness changed most with food growing.

-many participants had a family background in food growing
-the motivations were closely linked to perceived benefits and thus lifestyle

-there were challenges, but none of these hindered participants to grow their own foods
-some challenges were welcomed, as they would help improve the food growing techniques
-challenges mentioned the most were theft/vandalism, pests, and weather.
-Whilst many participants were active in their communities (e.g. promoting food growing, holding voluntary posts at the community gardens, teaching others), the majority of participants were not involved in food poverty alleviation initiatives

-whilst participants were generally interested in learning more about and supporting those in food poverty, they were realistic about their restrictions, e.g. time, to do so
-food growing was mainly seen as a personal activity (that could still benefit the environment and society as a whole), but not as an activity beneficial for society per se
-participants were aware of the missing links, i.e. between those who grow fresh foods, and those who could benefit from the surplus
-these perspectives raise questions about how realistic policy recommendation on food growing as a strategy to alleviate food poverty are

Ideas for improvement
During the interview, participants mentioned a number of ideas for improvement, which shall be taken into consideration, for activities in line with the sustainable food cities in Aberdeen City and Shire

supporting older people in gardening
-much more government/council support (official organisation) for supporting those in food poverty to grown their own
-make better use of surplus food

-develop engagement strategies
-make better use of the unused land
-promote respect for people’s properties at allotments
-maintain a ‘bottom up’ / ‘grassroots’ approach to involving communities
-educate on food growing, and implement this education better

Karolina promises she or team members will be in touch once the study is completed.

Study Details