How the garden began diary BACK
Ian Sharp moved to Govan in November 2009. After enquiring about the plans to create a market garden in Elder Park, he was invited to a meeting at Linthouse Housing Association.
This is his diary which charts the beginning of Elder Park Community Garden
Received a call from John McBride at Linthouse Housing Association inviting me to a meeting to discuss the Market Garden.
Had a look online to see what I could find regarding the project, and realized that Linthouse Housing Association had put a great deal of effort into trying to save the farmhouse building and find a proper use for the site.
Meeting at Linthouse offices to discuss how to proceed. John McBride outlined the proposal, which was to create a Market Garden in the grounds of the old Fairfield Farm Building. He said that the initial plans had been shelved due to lack of funding, and that this meeting was to establish how to move on.
Council Representative Henry Adomako had arranged soil and some planters to help us get started. James from the Coach House Trust arranged to clear some dangerous sections of the site.
Chris Hill of Govan High School, and the staff from Little Branches Nursery said they would definitely use the facilities, and Tam from the Galgael said some of his guys wanted to get involved.
I volunteered to reduce my work commitments to give me some free time to work on the project. John accepted my offer to try and get things moving, and gave me a set of keys.
I traveled to Milton and visited Ann Dazovic at the Lambhill stables project, met some great people, got some good ideas.
Did some research online, I found many possible sources of funding, but can’t access them unless we set up a community group with a constitution.
On site looking at the planters. I felt they would be too high for the kids, particularly those from the Nursery. Thought about building some decking around them, but felt this would be expensive and as there’s no power on site, it would be difficult. Decided to build platform around planters using old tyres filled with type 1.
I Found Martin on land share site, he lives in Govan and wants to grow veg. Contacted him by e-mail.
Also placed adverts online asking for free tools and equipment.
I went to see Jewson’s Manager John Fleming to ask if they would give us type1 and perhaps some timber to build frame for greenhouse.
He was in a meeting, but will call me.
I Went to see Martin Plant Hire about borrowing some wheelbarrows to fill the planters, Pat Lawlor said no problem.
Then Went to the scrap yard to ask about getting old tyres they said leave it with us and we’ll see if he can help.
I Received e-mail from Martin on Landshare site, he’s very interested.
Also Placed adverts online giving a brief description of the plan, to raise awareness among other Glaswegians involved in similar projects.
I Shifted the planters into position.
Met Martin on site to show him the plans. Arranged to meet him on Sunday to fill the planters.
Took Mick down to see site with a view to installing greenhouse, he said he’d draw up some plans.
Received call from John at Jewson’s, I explained what we were trying to do and he said they would help with materials.
Noticed that the housing association was replacing our bins with wheelie bins.
Received call offering the full 50 tires I requested. Will take delivery on Friday.
Nipped home on my lunch break, went to Howden’s and spoke to Stevie and Robert, they offered to try to help by giving us old off cuts of timber. Thanks.
Then popped in to see Gordon Anderson at Govan Housing Association. told him we would take all the old bins. He said he’d check that was o.k. and get back to me.
Received call from John at Jewson’s asking me to go over to see him. When I arrived he asked what we needed. I said that besides the type1 and timber, we could use some tools to get started. He said he’d see what he could do.
Went to Martin Plant Hire to pick up wheelbarrows, someone had moved them. Pat couldn’t find them. He tried the other branches but had no luck. He promised to help next time we needed anything.
Drove down to Ayrshire to collect my wheelbarrow and my brother in law lent me another.
Went to EK for vegetable growing training course with Mathew. He offered to come down to look at the site.
Martin didn’t show but Steven and Mick helped me fill the planters. Thanks guys.
Arranged to meet Ian from the garage at site after work to collect tires.
Tyres arrived, kids stole padlock as I was shifting them. Note to self, lock the gates while working.
Visited Sheila at Coach House Trust for to see their project and ask for any advice about how we should proceed. Sheila showed me round and suggested a few ideas. Great Place.
Old Housing Assoc bins arrived. Thanks Gordon.
Received call from John Fleming from Jewsons. He will give us all we asked for, thanks John.
Delivery arranged for Friday.
Nipped home from work at lunchtime, e-mailed all the schools in Govan to make them aware about the free compost bins Waste Aware were providing. I tried to order them, but was told the schools had to call up themselves.
Needed to find secure place to keep tools that Jewson’s will give us. Couldn’t get a hold of John. On way home from work called in to see Liz at Pierce Institute and Pat Cassidy Elder Park Workspace. They both offered storage space, thanks guys.
Met with Tam from Galgeal, he introduced me to Dougie who wants to be part of the garden project.
Received delivery of Jewson’s materials. Thanks again John.
I went down to the site and positioned the tiyes around planters and filled with type 1.
On site again, created some extra planters using the tyres and filled with soil.
Met with Mathew, showed him site. He gave some great advice. Thanks.
John McBride arrived to show someone round, he told me about Bellahouston park having some spare planters.
Came home and called Thales and BAE about getting some old pallets to build extra planters.
Back down to site to shift type1, got soaked to the skin, hope the weather improves.
Tom Hanrattay from Thales called he has 15 pallets. we collect Friday morning.
Called Tam at Galgael to see if they could pick up the pallets. Tam said their truck would be up in Argyle, but said he’d ask Fiona to help out.
Meeting at Linthouse Housing John not present, get well soon John.
Helen Kyle chaired the meeting.
We discussed setting up a community group, and Katie from GSWRA said she’d arrange the drawing up of a constitution.
I asked for residents to be notified about the project, suggested we arrange a meeting to invite any interested residents.
Everyone agreed, we arranged meeting for Thursday 15th at 6pm.
Work day scheduled for following Saturday to get site clear and safe for visitors.
Went to Bellahouston Park to enquire about planters, but was told they had used them all.
Met with Fiona went to Thales collected pallets. Dougie arrived to help. Fiona and Dougie said they would be happy to help as much as they could to get things going. Thanks guys.
Spotted free greenhouse frame in the snips, called to arrange collection.
Thought about using plastic perspex to create murals to brighten up the site, placed ads online, Freeshare, Gumtree etc.
Dougie did security assessment of the site. He discovered many ways to easily climb in.
Received an e-mail from John Gordon regarding information about some possible funding from Action Earth, thanks John.
E-mailed Police to ask if they could arrange a meeting on site to advise us on security. Received a reply and called to discuss. They no longer offer this service except in circumstances where lots of money is at stake.
Received e-mail from someone on Freeshare website about the plastic sheets we need to fill greenhouse frame. Arranged to collect on Saturday.
Received e-mail from Peter Lavelle at Glasgow wood Recycling. He said they would be happy to help. Thanks Peter.
Joined Justfortheloveofit website, found 29 new contacts from Vegan Chefs to Environmental Activists, all within 1 mile of Elder Park. Sent each an e-mail about the project in case they would be interested.
Discovered that we have some funding, but it must be spent on growing kits from NVA as these are mobile units which can be moved from site to site. The Fairfield Farm site is one of 4 projects across Glasgow that are part sponsored by NVA.
Spoke with Jon Clarke at NVA regarding Sage kits. Kits will take 4/6 weeks to make once they are ordered. He said he’d e-mail details of the kits along with the price list.
Gillian called to say they were working on flyers to advertise project and invite local people to a meeting at the LUV Gallery. Thanks Gillian.
Hooked up with Fiona, went to collect greenhouse frame. We also popped into see boss at Autoglass who agreed to give us crates to covert into planters.
Received e-mail containing details of NVA kits price list and a request to meet me and John on site. Thanks Jon. Responded with my availability for the meeting.
Picked up Dougie, went to Bishopbriggs picked up plastic sheets, and dropped them off at site.
Visited Bellahouton park to see Gavin Jackson, he wasn’t in. Spoke with Tam the foreman there, he told me DRS are responsible for the building.
Arranged with Tam to have his Elder Park Maintenance Team drop off grass cuttings etc once we have our composting area ready.
Called DRS for clarification on who is responsible for maintenance of the farm building. Contact wasn’t there, so I left a message.
Called BAE to ask if they would help with the project. Spoke with Charles who asked me to e-mail a list of what we may need.
Contacted Henry to ask if he had a contact at Land Services who could help us with plastic bottles for the greenhouse. He e-mailed back with the details. Thanks Henry.
Herris fencing arrived.
Received copy of EKDEV Trust constitution to use as a template for our group. Thanks Mathew.
Received e-mail from Recycling Manager at Land and Environmental Services giving me a contact for the plastic bottles we need for the greenhouse.
Met Helen and Gillian at the LUV Gallery to prepare for the meeting. A number of local people arrived wanting to know more about the plans. I gave an overview of the project, what had happened so far, and what we wanted to do next.
I proposed that the site was not really big enough for many people to grow all their vegetables in the way that they do in allotments. I suggested that we use the site as a centre for people to come and learn and exchange ideas about food growing, offering tips and training and using it as a base for branching out throughout the local area. I explained that as a member of EKDEV Trust I was involved in a schools project in East Kilbride and that we could mimic that in the Govan area, helping them to build their own growing facilities.
We discussed the planned work day and everyone who attended said they were interested in getting involved and left their contact details.
Katie called to say that she had managed to arrange a clear up team to help with the site.
Met with GSWRA community team, they did a great job of clearing the site of all remaining waste, thanks guys.
Gordon and Robert get to grips with the greenhouse frame
The first work day went very well. There was a great turnout. Gordon McKay brought a number of helpers from The Friends of Elder Park. Fiona and Dougie brought volunteers from the Galgael and a number of other locals arrived to lend a hand.
It was great to see so many people on site, all enthusiastically getting stuck in.
At the end of the day we had an informal meeting to plan what we wanted to do next.
A few people wanted to work out who would lead the group and be on the committee, I felt we should wait as some people were not present, and they may disagree with our choices.
In the end it was decided that we would informally elect four committee members and leave room for others to join. Myself, Dougie, Fiona and Scott were nominated.
Everyone agreed to return on Saturday’s to continue what we had started.
Met with Bill Pritchard from Govan Preservation Society. He gave me a copy of their constitution and some good advice about how to create a community group. Thanks Bill.
Met with Jon Clark Director of NVA. We had a look at the site and discussed what should be done.
We discussed the NVA list of products. I explained that I’d rather have water butts and storage as opposed to planters as I felt we could make planters easily from recycled materials.
Bill Pritchard called to say that he had arranged for us to use the boardroom at Elder Park Workspace for our committee meeting. Thanks Bill.
First meeting of the committee Dougie couldn’t attend as he was unwell.
I showed Scott and Fiona the constitutions that I had obtained from other similar groups but they felt that having a written constitution was wrong as it was bureaucratic and we should work out with the system.
I explained the situation regarding the NVA growing kits and suggested that we choose what we wanted from the list. Fiona felt that we should not use any of the kit offered by NVA as they would be getting exposure for their company. We talked about the possibility of other sites to give us more growing capacity, and Scott suggested we utilize the guerilla gardening technique of planting veg on roundabouts and other available spaces. I expressed my hope that we could perhaps become a Social Enterprise Company thus providing jobs for local people such as those who had completed their training with the Galgael and Katie’s GSWRA clear up team. Fiona and Scott felt that this would not be healthy as money would be involved, and that we should ensure that we remain a charity. I pointed out that the Galgael are a charity, but they do have a written constitution and the do create paid employment, but I was outvoted 2 to 1. We agreed to disagree and set to work on making a list of materials and jobs for Saturday.
Work day. Another great turnout and the sun was shining. We started work on creating the fruit garden. Fiona brought some plants to get us started. Thanks Fiona