This Spring and Summer has been a great time for Edinburgh Garden Partners, with lots of success of garden partnerships on the ground as well as building connections as an organisation which help us to achieve our strategic aims.

As well as matching volunteers with older garden owners 1-1 in order to build relationships and grow organic veg to share, we also work to nurture our dynamic community of volunteers. Greta, our Volunteering Development Coordinator, organises a programme of events and training to bring people together, to share ideas and resources and to learn. This Spring we enjoyed a foraging walk in Holyrood Park and a learning session at Jupiter Artland. We also brought volunteers together to swap and share at our seed swap in March and our seedling swap in June and continued to benefit from our long term partnership with the Edible Gardening Project at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh who have offered our volunteers 5 training sessions on a variety of topics.

We are constantly amazed by our garden partnerships, and are excited to share some of the pictures of their spaces and the produce which they are now harvesting. We currently support 47 partnerships, 9 of which we have formed since our last update in February.

In March Debs, our Project Coordinator, attended the Generations Working Together International Intergenerational Conference in Glasgow. As well as being an opportunity to network with other intergenerational projects, Debs and volunteer Julia were interviewed on stage as part of a panel of previous Intergenerational Excellence award winners. We’ve also built new connections with Rowan Alba and Milan SWO – both of which have helped us recruit new garden owners, broadening the pool of people who are sharing gardens in Edinburgh.

Our partnership project with the Welcoming, an Edinburgh based charity who support New Scots, is in full swing. We have set up 4 new garden partnerships, where EGP volunteers are matched with Welcoming participants to grow veg alongside each other and learn together. Funding supported us to provide basic gardening tools and compost for the partnerships, and we worked with a local outdoor equipment business to repurpose pallet collars (a waste product from their deliveries) as pop-up raised beds. Participants attended a launch event for the project in June and are now growing a variety of vegetables together, sharing experience and cultural knowledge.

Looking beyond our day to day activity, we have created a working group to explore how we can use our 12 years experience of running a garden sharing scheme to support others to set up garden sharing in other parts of the country. After a productive initial meeting, we have made a plan and will progress with the first step – creating a shareable toolkit – later in the autumn when things are a little quieter in our own shared gardens.

As ever, we appreciate the ongoing support from Vegware, which gives us the flexibility to continue bringing together people from different backgrounds and different generations to share garden space and grow together.