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Proposal to farm Dundee park to feed deprived families

The entrance to Camperdown Park.
The entrance to Camperdown Park.

One of Dundee’s biggest parks could be used to grow fruit and vegetables to feed some of the city’s poorest residents.

Dundee City Council is to spend £20,000 on a study looking at the practicalities of farming in Camperdown Park and the effect it could have on food poverty in Dundee.

The study would look at how best to distribute produce to those who need it most and the opportunities the scheme could provide for training and skills development.

Councillor Anne Rendall,  depute convener of Dundee City Council’s neighbourhood services committee, said: “This study is in response to recommendations from our Fairness Commission about addressing food poverty and the Scottish Government who have placed a duty on all councils to produce a Local Food Growing Strategy by April 2020.

“The opportunity to use the council’s plant nursery at Camperdown Park for fruit and veg production as well as supplying shrub and plant material for our green spaces, is one that we cannot ignore.

“This is an imaginative, creative and ambitious response to food poverty and if a way can be found to distribute the produce to the people who need it most and give our young people skills, it would be a positive outcome for a number of different sections of our community.”

A report to the committee, which will be considered on Monday, notes existing community growing projects are well received by the people who use them, but food production is relatively small-scale.

It adds, to have any meaningful impact on relieving food poverty, local food production will need to be up-scaled.

Discussions have already taken place with potential partners including Dundee Social Enterprise Network (DSEN) and Dundee and Angus College.

Dundee Social Enterprise Network, in partnership with the Maxwell Centre, has successfully submitted an Awards for All application for £10,000 to part-fund a feasibility report into the development of a community scale growing project and councillors will be asked to approve match funding.

The number of people relying on foodbanks to eat in Dundee has increased by more than a third over the past year.

The Trussell Trust said its network provided 4,344 emergency supplies in the area between April and September – up 34% from the year before.

Each package contains 10 meals, which are supposed to last for three days.

 

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