Community groups and organisations across Falkirk are taking part in a pilot project to get them growing their own produce from their windowsill.

Forth Environment Link has delivered more than 50 Veg Your Ledge kits during May. Each kit contains upcycled wood planters made by the charity’s reuse team, a bag of compost, vegetable seeds and planting instructions.

The initiative, which is funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund and Investing in Communities Fund as well as The Robertson Trust and The Gannochy Trust, has attracted interest from a wide variety of charities and community support groups: from Strathcarron Hospice and Forth Valley Sensory Centre, to KSLB Community Pantry and Denny Community Support Group.

The veg box kits are designed to encourage people to realise the benefits of growing their own fresh food, reducing their carbon footprint, and experiencing the health and therapeutic gains associated with food growing.

Forth Environment Link’s Wood Reuse Officer, Richard Chatfield said: “We’re delighted with the response to Veg Your Ledge – we’ve had so many requests from all over the Falkirk area. Hopefully, it will get our local communities interested in growing and reuse, and we’re always here to provide further advice and encouragement along the way.”

One of the first organisations to get growing was Wheatley Care Group in Grangemouth, which supports people experiencing homelessness including families, refugees, and people with complex needs.

Sandy Hunter, Community Engagement and Activities Coordinator for Wheatley, said: “During the pandemic we have been trying to find new ways to help people stay active with meaningful activity and the planters have been a fantastic way to do this. We have verandas and a back-garden area where people can get privacy to work on their planter. It has also helped brighten the place up a bit!”

Strathcarron Hospice’s Compassion in the Community group has also been busy growing their own lettuce, radish, spring onions, broccoli, chives, basil, spinach, thyme, and oregano thanks to the project.

Hannah Gray, Community Development Worker with Strathcarron Hospice said: “I’m especially fond of the Veg Your Ledge campaign because it is a way of focusing on something positive in your own home-  I think nurturing something and watching it come to life is so good for the soul.  At this time when people are unable to get out and about in the same way as usual, it’s great that projects like this are springing up, and this is encouraging people to home grow veg  who may have not been able to access things like allotments or even their own garden because of their health.  Often the people I support aren’t able to get out and about in the same way as other people can, and so I’m excited that this project is enabling them to get involved in veg growing in their home during this time of shielding, but also hopefully beyond this time too.”

Forth Environment Link’s Partnerships and Pathways Coordinator Julie Ryan added: “Following the success of working with community groups and charities such as Strathcarron, we’re now in discussion with local youth groups to see how we might be able to get some younger communities involved in the project.”

Community groups or organisations interested in receiving a kit should contact: julie@forthenvironmentlink.org