A Nursing student at the University of Dundee is calling on green-fingered locals to come together and grow healthy produce for members of their community to enjoy.
The recently established Fintry Community Garden is the brainchild of Brian Webster, who grew up in the area and who now lives in nearby Mill o’ Mains. Brian (28) was inspired by the memories of growing up helping his grandparents to grow their own veg in the garden of their Fintry home.
He has subsequently carried out research into the benefits of gardening and is keen for these to be enjoyed by as many people as possible from the area.
The 200ft x 165ft Community Garden is situated next to Fintry Primary School. Brian and his fellow members have installed and planted pilot raised beds with the help of pupils at the school and a nearby nursery. It is exactly this type of community collaboration that Brian is keen to see the Garden foster as it expands.
“Organic, locally grown produce is great for us but it is often too expensive for people on a limited income and I wanted to give people the chance to grow this produce for themselves and their community,” he explained.
“Gardening is great for your mental and physical health. It helps you reconnect with nature, get exercise and grow healthy food. It can also be a very social activity and that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to get the Community Garden going.
“A Greenspace Scotland survey on growing food found that of all respondents who had never grown their own food, over half would like to. There are challenges that many of them face, such as not having their own garden or not being able to dedicate enough time to an allotment. The Community Garden offers people in this situation the chance to come along and meet like-minded people and get involved.
“I have some raised beds in my garden that lets me grow a few things but I wanted to help more people enjoy gardening, including those who have never done it before. The vegetables we planted have thrived so far and we are now looking for more people to get involved and take the Garden to the next level.”
People in Dundee can now be prescribed ‘Green Prescriptions’ thanks to an initiative led by the Dundee Green Health Partnership, which was launched at the University Botanic Garden in April.
The Partnership is a collaboration between NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council, the voluntary sector, the University of Dundee, Abertay University and local community groups to connect people and green spaces to deliver health benefits.
Brian, who worked as a healthcare assistant before returning to education, is President-elect of the University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences and is fully supportive of the Partnership’s aims, believing that people will be surprised at just how much they can get out of schemes such as this.
“We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to assist in the short or long term in getting the garden well established,” he said. “No experience is necessary, as all current volunteers are from different backgrounds, with each bringing their own set of skills and experiences.”