Community groups in Scotland’s towns and cities are being encouraged to take advantage of powers allowing them to create new places for growing fruit and vegetables.
Allotments provided by local authorities are in high demand and the Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, says land reform powers could help reduce waiting lists by providing more land to grow food. Ms Cunningham said: “Council-run allotments are a much loved part of Scotland’s urban landscape. They provide healthy food, help keep gardeners fit and are often a haven for wildlife. That helps explain their growing popularity and the long waiting lists found in many areas.
“Attention understandably tends to focus on the opportunities which the Scottish Government’s land reform agenda provides for rural communities, but there are real benefits for urban areas too.
“Our land reform measures give community groups in our towns and cities fresh opportunities – including the opportunity to create new gardens and spaces where local people can grow fruit and vegetables. This is one way to help meet the demand from those who want to ‘grow their own’.
“This week we also announced new asset transfer powers through the Community Empowerment Act. This gives community bodies the right to make requests to all local authorities, Scottish Ministers and a wide-ranging list of public bodies, for any land or buildings they feel they could make better use of.
“Meanwhile, there’s a burgeoning interest in local produce, with initiatives thriving around the country.
“This supports the Scottish Government’s vision to create a Good Food Nation, where people will have more opportunities to grow their own healthy and nutritious food.
“Taking our existing community right to buy scheme and asset transfer powers together, it’s clear that we are doing more than ever to empower local communities.
“That’s why I’m urging community groups to use the powers now at their disposal to access land and, provided they are an eligible community group, take advantage of either the right to buy or asset transfer legislation.
“There is great potential here to make more land available for community gardens, ease demand for space on existing council-run allotment sites, and reduce the length of current waiting lists.”