Portobello Community Farm

Portobello spends around £16 mil­lion each year on food and drink. It’s a huge amount of money but how much of it is spent in the area, or stays here? We eat around 450 tonnes of fruit, 350 tonnes of veget­ables, 300 tonnes of bread and 700,000 eggs each year. How much of this is brought in from far away, at huge expense to the environment?

In early 2009, PEDAL con­duc­ted a sur­vey of over 500 loc­al res­id­ents, which revealed that many people sup­port the idea of a com­munity farm. So PEDAL has appoin­ted Whitmuir Organics to find out wheth­er a com­munity farm might work in Portobello. They are look­ing at pos­sible sites, as well as dif­fer­ent options as to how it could be run.

A com­munity farm could be a small site run by volun­teers that also offers an edu­ca­tion­al and fun day out, or a lar­ger site on the edge of the city employ­ing a farm­er. We could set up a sub­scrip­tion with farm­ers who would sup­ply pro­duce straight to us. Or we could open a com­munity shop sourcing food from pro­du­cers across the Lothians and provid­ing train­ing and jobs for loc­al people.

We want to find out what best suits Portobello and wheth­er you’d like to get involved. Are you inter­ested in grow­ing or buy­ing more loc­ally-pro­duced food? Would you be will­ing to pledge your sup­port as a shop­per, or your time as a volun­teer? Are you look­ing at start­ing up an enter­prise, or do you belong to oth­er groups that may want to get involved?

Over the com­ing months we’ll be hold­ing open dis­cus­sion days. Follow this link to see the food links road map cre­ated at one dis­cus­sion day on the 23rd November

We have also set up a short term work­ing group that will aims to explore atti­tudes to food in Portobello, raise aware­ness of some of the issues asso­ci­ated with food pro­duc­tion, and build con­fid­ence that togeth­er we can change the way we buy our food for the better.

To find out more or get involved, con­tact Polly or ring 0131 258 4483.

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