The historic harbour town of Stromness has around 2,000 residents and its amenities serve the broader geographical area of the West Mainland in Orkney. The town supports a large primary school and one of the two senior secondary schools in the county. There is one small local supermarket (Co-operative) and only two other shops selling fruit and veg (a butcher/greengrocer and bakery/general store) in the town. The largest shopping centre in Orkney is 16 miles away in Kirkwall. Stromness Community Garden will aid local people to grow their own fresh fruit and veg, helping to increase choice, reduce air miles as well as supporting an enjoyable leisure activity.
Orkney has, in common with many other areas in Scotland, an acknowledged problem with fuel poverty. While the community garden will not directly help solve this issue the charity aims to make a significant contribution to community well-being and offer local people the opportunity to reduce weekly grocery bills. The polytunnel within the garden will allow a year round supply of local and more exotic produce to be grown, a highly attractive facility given the relatively short growing season and often changeable climate found locally.
Stromness Community Garden aims to be self-sufficient once all the setup costs have been met. Local members form the management committee and volunteers will deliver all the work of the charity. A key aim is to build a sustainable and motivated organisation from the bottom-up, addressing real needs and aspirations of the community. The independence of the charity will serve to create a self-motivated and active group who will not be bogged down in bureaucratic structures. The local environment will benefit through a marked increase in bio diversity in the area, attracting and sustaining local wildlife including bees and other native species.
Stromness Community Garden will aid community development by providing affordable and tasty food in an organic and sustainable way. There is a strong Real Food movement in Orkney and a highly developed awareness of traceability and welfare standards in farmed foods. Stromness Community Garden will form a key outlet for local people wishing to ensure a varied supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, contributing to quality of life as well as health and well-being.
Stromness Community Garden hopes to offer something different to the community in an educational, supportive, sustainable and creative way.