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Green Fingered Aberfeldy Tackling Food Poverty

LISTEN: Giles Conisbee explains how the Tay Valley Timebank is encouraging people to get green fingered

Tay Valley Timebank has introduced an exciting new community initiative aimed at addressing and combatting the growing concern of food poverty.

The Grow to Give scheme aims to equip participants with a starter pack containing soil and ‘mystery seeds’ to start them on their journey of growing fresh produce to add to the dinner table.

Tay Valley Timebank Coordinator, Giles Conisbee, said:  “It’s a bit of a sad fact that there’s going to be an estimated 2 million people who are moving into food poverty in the UK this year, so this is a bit of a local response – What do we do about that? What does that mean for our community?

“We called it Grow to Give because ultimately what we’re encouraging people to do in the community is to grow something. The idea that you’re planting in order to share the food you grow as well as enjoy it yourself.

“I think there’s also a really strong case that says that by doing that you’re also giving people access to really high-quality local produce and there’s nothing more satisfying I think than growing and sharing food. It’s what we do is when we come together with family, for example, we share food so that really plays into increasing health and well-being within a community.

The Timebank is a flexible volunteering organisation which relies on donations of time rather than money with the aim of bringing the community together and encouraging people to try something new.

Part of the Grow to Give initiative is ‘Lend to Tend’ in which keen growers without a garden can be matched with others who have space available. This not only allows for a new hobby to begin but new friendships to grow.

Whether you are an experienced gardener or a first timer, don’t be deterred, support and advice is available and encouraged between participants.

Giles added: “This is part of the fun of it – people coming together and talking about what grows well and what doesn’t grow well.

“The best thing is the fact that food tastes fantastic because it hasn’t had to travel very far. I think it’s local produce and it’s really fresh and it’s just fantastic tasting food.

Aside from Grow to Give, Timebank has offered a variety of support to the community throughout the pandemic such as collecting prescriptions, shopping for those in isolation or providing a lift to a doctor’s appointment.

Giles said: “It exists ultimately to create communities that are strong and cohesive and resilient, just by being good neighbours.

“It’s the glue behind a lot of community activities.”

Following the long-awaited re-opening of garden centres, Timebank ask’s that shoppers keep this initiative in mind and consider purchasing an extra pack of seeds to donate and allow others to participate.

Tay Valley Timebank will be attending the Farmers Market in Aberfeldy on May 2nd and invite you along to share your produce and exchange with others or make a donation.

For more information or to request your starter ‘mystery pack’, please visit www.tayvalleytimebank.com

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