A new sustainable food growing programme is helping bring Stirling communities together to enjoy healthy and sustainable ways of eating.
A new sustainable food growing programme is helping bring Stirling communities together to enjoy healthy and sustainable ways of eating.

The GROW Stirling partnership is one of 27 projects to benefit from a share of nearly £175,000 from Stirling Council’s Good Food for All Fund.

The Fund was launched during Challenge Poverty Week in 2021. It is backed by a £150,000 investment in Food Insecurity Initiatives to tackle inequality from Stirling Council’s 2021-22 Budget Setting process as a one-off growth spend, allocated to Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise.

An additional £25K of additional finances was also drawn from COVID-19 support funds and the Council’s Community Justice budget.

Good Food For All Fund

The Good Food for All Fund provided grants of up to £10,000 to projects which will help to achieve the objectives of the Stirling Food Framework, which include:

  • Tackling food poverty
  • Promoting healthy and sustainable food for the public
  • Building community food knowledge, skills, resources and projects.

The GROW Stirling partnership is a starter programme involving Stirling Council, Forth Environmental Link, Stirling Community Enterprise, NHS Forth Valley and Start Up Stirling, which provides a sustainable food access and education project for the Stirling Council area.

The community food growing project, which has included a fruit tree planting initiative in Kildean, will actively involve people in choices and social activities around food, food growing, preparation and eating.

Working together, the partnership is developing a nature-based programme for people with mental health issues, physical disabilities and those coming through the criminal justice field.

Helping people live healthier lifestyles

Community Planning and Regeneration Convener, Cllr Chris Kane said: “Community food growing helps people to live healthier lifestyles by increasing their physical activity levels, encouraging healthy eating and developing friendships among the participants to help reduce social isolation and improve mental health.

“Access to affordable, quality food is a basic human right that must be available to everyone in the Stirling area.

“Reducing health and income inequalities is a key Council priority and this project, thanks to funding from the Good Food For All Fund, is helping deliver on these ambitions, giving everyone the opportunity to put back into their communities for the betterment of others.” 

Making Stirling a sustainable Good Food City

Vice Convener, Cllr Scott Farmer said: “Community based initiatives such as this are key to achieving our aims of making Stirling a sustainable Good Food City, helping residents to work together, meet and connect with nature.

“Taking actions on the three priorities we have identified in the Stirling Food Framework will help families and communities out of poverty.

“Food insecurity unfortunately remains a problem across all of Scotland and it is important that all of our partners continue to collaborate closely to ensure we can make Stirling a Good Food City – a place where everyone can access healthy, affordable and sustainable food.”

Dignified access to food

Community Food Development Worker with the GROW Stirling partnership, Donna Rodgers, said: “We want to improve health, resilience and general wellbeing by tackling food insecurity and increasing the number of ways that people can have dignified access to food, from the field it is grown in to the fork we eat it with.

“We also want to provide opportunities for training, employment and support to people within our communities experiencing the impacts of poverty and food insecurity.”