Former Abandoned Council Depot Turned Community Garden Makes Progress
After a year of paperwork and the uncertainties brought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic work has finally begun to transform the former council depot on St Fitticks’ Road into a Community Edible Garden.
The £30,000 investment into Torry by local charity Cultivate Aberdeen will see the site completely transformed into an accessible community-led space that supports food growing, outdoor education, positive mental health and wellbeing along with benefits to both the visible built and natural environments.
George Bellamy, Founder and Chairman, said “the vision for Cultivate Aberdeen is to create kind, confident, and connected communities though the power of food-growing and we’re excited to finally be launching this project after some considerable delays”.
“This investment represents more than a transformational change but shows a shift in priorities as communities back more grassroots initiatives and promote to protect green spaces – which for many have been vital during lockdown. We were delighted to receive significant public backing through the UDecide bid and our volunteer base keeps growing, not just in Torry but throughout Aberdeen”.
St Fitticks’, the flagship growing site for Cultivate Aberdeen, will include restoring some of the features of an earlier initiative launched in 2011 by Aberdeen Forward but will also improve accessibility, create a tiered orchard, host areas designed for schools and uniformed groups to have outdoor lessons, and recreational spots to appreciate and benefit from the natural beauty of the location overlooking the coast.
Cultivate Aberdeen are, however, creating more than a growing site, “We are passionate about using food growing as an enabler to talk and tackle larger issues that face individuals and communities particularly around food-insecurity and negative mental health. Aberdeen’s natural environment is a resource that can be used to help tackle some of our key health issues and we fully subscribe to any initiatives that aim to bring about a step change in the use of nature-based solutions to deliver health outcomes”.
Throughout lockdown the charity provided over 400 grow at home kits for local residents which included grounding techniques for those struggling with the restrictions. The organisation also co-founded the Aabody’s Torry Community Festival which took place during the Summer Solstice Weekend in 2020.
The transformation on site began at the start of March and the first phase is to be completed within six weeks; placing the opening of the site, in line with local guidelines, by the second week of Spring.