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Community / Grow your own food with the help of Grow Shetland

EFFORTS to encourage more islanders to grow their own food and reduce their dependency on regular trips to the supermarket will continue in 2022 after a very busy first year for the Grow Shetland initiative run by local veg producer Transition Turriefield.

The Sandness-based grower said that during the last 12 months it had worked with 46 individuals providing advice and support for their plots and assisted nine groups, including those working with vulnerable or disadvantaged people, to develop their growing ideas.

It also helped establish two community food growing support groups and advised eight schools with developing food growing as part of the curriculum.

It further hosted eight beginner growers’ courses, undertook 17 site visits to existing plots to provide advice, and welcomed seven group visits to their own Turriefield site providing opportunity to ask questions and learn skills.

Turriefield’s Penny Armstrong said the project’s own website, home to all the grow your own information sheets and links to beginners’ guide videos, was now live at www.growshetland.co.uk

The next step in developing the ambitious project further is to get the volunteer grower mentor scheme underway with experienced vegetable growers providing information, advice and support to beginners in their area.

“This is a great opportunity for growers to share their knowledge of food growing in Shetland’s difficult conditions and help widen the food growing support network in the Shetland community,” she said.

“We’re recruiting now and would welcome any experienced growers interested in joining the team of community based volunteers.”

She added that the first round of online courses, which start again next week, are already full. To accommodate everyone another round has been organised, and will begin in March.

All courses are free for Shetland residents and more information can be found on both the Transition Turriefield and the Grow Shetland websites.

Funding for the Grow Shetland project is coming from SIC’s Crown Estate fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Shetland Charitable Trust.