Blackhill’s Growing was set up to bring our community together through the simple acts of growing good food, cooking good food and eating good food. In 2010, we started looking into the possibility of a growing project after an exchange trip to Zambia, where we visited projects like Isiblu where growing food for use by the participants of the project helped to create a cohesive, supportive community.
Inspired by this, as well as their yearly visits to the gardens at Camas Outdoors Centre in Mull, our young people wanted to set up their own small market garden at St Paul’s, selling the fresh produce to raise money for youth club activities. We got our first laying hens in 2015 and the project has been growing ever since. Our garden now has a flock of laying hens, 3 beehives, a large orchard, raised beds and three polytunnels.
Blackhill is what’s known as a “food desert”, where there is little access to fresh fruit and veg and few opportunites for people to enjoy nutritious food together. We have been working hard to transform this, running a weekly vegetable Barra, selling fresh fruit and veg, alongside our own local produce from the garden, and freshly baked bread from the local Blackhill Bakery. On top of this we run a weekly community meal, where we serve delicious three course meals, made partly from diverted supermarket food waste, to the local community for free, whilst also running a small referral free food bank, open to all. Aside from helping families with their weekly food bills, our community meals provide a much needed social space for people to get together over a shared meal. We also run a weekly pizza night, where people can gather in our garden and cook their own pizza’s in our delicious wood-fired outdoor pizza oven.
Our community meals are not only popular with the locals, they have been praised nationally as an example of best practice in adopting a dignified approach to food insecurity by the think tank and campaign group Nourish. We pride ourselves on our inclusive, welcoming and participant-led approach, so whether you are wanting to attend a delicious community meal, looking to buy some locally produced free-range eggs, or get your hands dirty at one of our growing drop in sessions in the garden, come on down.
Weekly Schedule –
Tues – 5.00pm-6.00pm Community Meal and Vegetable Barra
Thu – 12.30pm -3pm Growing Session in Garden
5pm-6pm Pizza night
Sun (April – Oct) – 11am-3pm Growing Session in Garden
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