Thirty miles west of Aberdeen on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park and Royal Deeside lies the rural Aberdeenshire village of Tarland. Residents there set up the Tarland Development Group (TDG) and began working on the advancement of community development in the area. One project they undertook was the Tarland Community Garden project.
The MacRobert Trust (the Trust) and TDG have developed close working links. Based on the MacRobert Estate centred on the village of Tarland, the Trust is an amalgamation of several charitable trusts originally established in memory of her family by Lady MacRobert. The Trust is an important delivery partner for TDG, helping it achieve its aim of advancing community development through promotion of the arts, culture heritage, environmental enhancement and protection and the provision of recreational activities.
The Tarland Community Garden project was initiated to encourage local people of all ages and abilities to grow their own fruits and vegetables, helping create a healthier community and reduce their carbon footprint at the same time. Working with the Trust, the TDG secured a plot on land originally zoned in the Aberdeenshire Council Local Development Plan for a shelter belt and subsequently proposed by The MacRobert Trust as an allotment site for the village.
The project was backed financially by the Climate Change Fund (£47,880), Aberdeenshire Council, the Co-operative Community Fund and Marr Area Partnership Initiative Grant Scheme as well as public donations.
Opened in 2013, Tarland Community Garden now provides an inclusive and accessible community growing space for local residents. It has indoor and outdoor raised beds for rent plus communal planting areas including a soft fruit cage, fruit trees, a herb garden and a permaculture garden. It is a place for members to grow, learn, share and have fun. There are currently 40 members and associate members in the Community Garden project and bumper crops of fruit and vegetables have been produced.
Commenting on the Community Garden project Simon Power, the Estate Manager for the Trust said: ”The Community Garden project has been fantastic for Tarland. It is a great place for people of all ages and abilities to work together for a common purpose, and I am delighted that the Trust could play a part in this project.”
Kate Redpath, project leader at the Tarland Community Garden added: “Now in its third year, the TDG, Tarland Community Garden project, is firmly established and flourishing. The project, like many others initiated by the TDG, has benefited from ongoing close cooperation with The MacRobert Trust; specifically, in this case by making land and water supply available.”