Local Food for Local People

Environmental sustainability, Poverty and social exclusion, Education

Local food for local people builds on the legacy of a previous LEADER funded horticultural pilot project led by Tagsa Uibhist which ran between 2011 to 2013. It is a partnership between Tagsa Uibhist and Cothrom, a community and development organisation in South Uist providing certificated training opportunities. The project aimed to provide opportunities for local people, in particular vulnerable adults, to grow fruit and vegetables and provide a therapeutic space to enhance well-being. Local food for local people now also provides formal (SVQ Horticulture) and informal horticultural training and a growing number of facilities including Keder Greenhouses and raised bed allotment plots. This supports the community to work towards greater self-sufficiency and help deliver a low carbon future for the Uist islands.

Training / Teaching, Production of goods
Local community

The use of food production to provide training, qualifications and support for vulnerable adults as well as providing a therapeutic space to help improve personal well-being.

“In 2011, Tagsa Uibhist piloted a horticultural project funded by LEADER providing facilities for people to grow fruit and vegetables, targeted particularly at vulnerable adults, affording them therapeutic, healthy eating and wellbeing opportunities. The subsequent horticultural projects in 2015-17 Local Food for Local People (CCF-3812, grant of £128,734; and CCF-4744, grant of £144,768), and currently, Grow Your Own Community (CCF-4968, grant of £128,411) built on that legacy. These projects have expanded growing facilities, delivered horticultural training, and supported the ‘growing community’ to create a low carbon future for Uist through growing more local produce to reduce food miles, provision of composting facilities, food waste reduction guidance and raising awareness of how these measures link to sustainability and climate change.
Currently, Grow Your Own Community CCF-4968 has focused on strengthening social cohesion and improving climate literacy by providing young families living in social housing schemes with communal growing facilities (3) supported by climate literate horticultural trainers (4) and a mental health and wellbeing support worker (1); supported crofters to increase production (9 tonnes) of ‘Machair Potatoes’ (potatoes grown on sandy arable land); and is developing community resilience and self-sufficiency by delivering a practical workshop programme (8 workshops) that improves climate literacy and reduces waste for 20 participants by showing how to reuse fish farm waste as wind break fences and home-made polytunnels and raised beds. Having managed these projects across the islands since April 2015, Tagsa Uibhist has extensive experience of horticultural development, and building appropriate infrastructure that develops a legacy of sustainability in the Uist community. Peter Keiller, Chair of Tagsa Board of Trustees said:”Tagsa are delighted that the Climate Challenge Fund have recognised the success of the Local Food for Local People project. Our aim is to further extend the project into all areas of our community, to bring people together and engage everyone – the young, the old, the disabled and disadvantaged, in realising the potential to increase local food production in Uist. This project is an important part of Tagsa Uibhist’s vision of building a vibrant, strong and caring community where we work together to look after each other”

Laura Donkers

* Information at the level of NUTS 3 or local regions.