Feb 092017



Gigi with freshly harvested produce.

As placement students from the University of Edinburgh at the Royal Botanic Gardens, our first day was far from conventional. Cristina was “amazed and entranced by the beauty, different colours, sounds and smells” of the gardens. We headed towards the oldest… but newest building in the Gardens, the Botanic Cottage. It travelled, brick by brick from its original site on Leith Walk to become a hub for community engagement at the Gardens.

Food and food security is currently a hot topic for the Royal Botanic Garden as they are part of the Big Picnic project. We took a tour around the Edible Garden and collected ingredients for our huge pot of soup to feed the group. For Gigi, growing up in Hong Kong, the vegetable garden was “a new experience”. Similarly, Cristina “laughed inside because it is very obvious, but sometimes we forget that food comes from nature, just like the trees in a forest.” Continue reading »

Feb 032017



Today the media is covering a story about vegetable shortages here in the UK due to poor weather in southern Europe. This is a timely reminder to us all that food should not be taken for granted and factors entirely beyond our control can interupt the food supply.

Yesterday (2nd February 2017) saw the first gathering of residents and community representatives from North Edinburgh at the Botanics Cottage here in the Garden to begin the process of co-creating an exhibition about access to nutritious food. After a hearty soup prepared from seasonal vegetables from the Garden (made by the co-creation participants), and bread baked in the Cottage from locally grown wheat (East Lothian), we set about identifying the barriers to nutritious food experienced by individuals and communities. Continue reading »

Jan 302017



Thinking about food is something we all do everyday when we get hungry. We are also increasingly being urged to think about food by medical professionals who give us advice on healthy eating. This can sometimes be confusing, and may even contradict earlier advice (of course science can work this way as new evidence overturns old thinking). The Scottish Government wants us to be a ‘good food nation’ and Scotland is certainly famed for its quality food and drink products. Think of seafood, beef, soft fruit and, of course, whiskey.

Edible gardening is now the major activity in the Demonstration Garden due to the work of the Edible Gardening Project. As this aspect of the Garden has developed visitors are increasingly able to eat food grown in the Garden at the catering outlets within the Garden. Prestige Scotland, the catering provider, is now funding a new Market Garden operation in the Nursery, just a few minutes walk from the main Garden, to supply this growing demand. Continue reading »