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Seeds of Applecross allotment scheme sown as project wins Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund support


By Hector MacKenzie

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Julie Baird, Saara Viitanen, Valerie Hodgkinson, Elodie Matthews, Kirsten Mackie.
Julie Baird, Saara Viitanen, Valerie Hodgkinson, Elodie Matthews, Kirsten Mackie.

A NEW project in a Wester Ross village could help the rural community become more “self-sufficient”.

The community initiative Appleseed Allotments, which has secured £99,750 funding from the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund (CCF), has already seen a strong interest from locals with requests for future slots already on a waiting list.

The project was born from an idea sprouted from a group at the local community forum. After teaming up with Applecross Community Company (ACC), an offshoot Appleseed Allotments subgroup was formed to run the project.

ACC local development officer, Saara Vintanen, said: “We are very excited to have received the funds and to see the project going ahead. The current situation with coronavirus will probably affect the project but we are nonetheless very happy for the future.

“The demand for allotments is already very high. However, for those who will not get the allotment or who wouldn’t be able to look after one themselves, as they are quite big, we will be including a community garden and a polytunnel and we also want to involve schools as much as possible."

The allotments are located in the field behind the AppleJuice Hydro Station and the project will see the development of a community growing space with composting facilities and workshops on growing, cooking and composting locally. A polytunnel, communal shed and a tree nursery will also be included.

With two job positions created -a project officer and part-time administrator - the scheme will run over two years and aims to reduce the carbon footprint of Applecross and improve the autonomy of the village.

Ms Viitanen said: “We are planning to run some market days where people who grow produce on the allotments can bring fresh food and where people from the local community can buy fresh, locally grown products at a lower price.

“Applecross is very reliant on bringing in food from outside so we hope that this project will help make the village more self-sufficient.

“It’s also important for us to create a space for people where to meet, a space for the community to come together.

“After all, the more the merrier!”

The CCF is a Scottish Government grant programme, managed and administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful.



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