Growing A New Future in Clacks

Feb 13, 2024

An innovative food growing project powered by renewable energy is aiming to transform an area of vacant and derelict land on the River Forth in Clackmannanshire.

A vertical farm is being developed for the site, where the post-industrial soil is too poor to allow traditional food growing methods. A new unit will be used to grow produce all year around and in a fraction of the time of conventional farming and without risk of frost or drought. This means some food, such as microgreens and salad leaves, could be grown all year round. The unit will be powered by solar panels and is expected to feature a rainwater capture system.

FEL, along with project partners, The Scottish International Environmental Centre (SIEC) and the Third sector interface for Clackmannanshire (CTSI), are helping to deliver the project called ‘Growing A New Future’ that is jointly spearheaded by Clackmannanshire Council and The University of Stirling following a successful funding bid to the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Fund.

To grow awareness, Clackmannanshire Council has funded a dedicated Community Engagement Officer to hold conversations across Clackmannanshire and inspire educational opportunities around what some are calling ‘space-age’ food growing. The community based project officer has been meeting with groups and delivering pop-up events since late summer 2023.

All comments generated are informing how the project continues to develop to maximise its potential for delivering community benefit. Conversations in the community are also supporting learning around climate adaptation, food security and sustainable food.

Pop-up events in high schools, have been engaging students in vertical growing through activities like making healthy Pizzas from scratch topped with different microgreens, similar to those Clackmannanshire’s first vertical farm may be growing locally.

In addition to a vertical farm, the site will also include an education space for visitors. In the meantime, however, the project’s Community Engagement Officer is working with high schools in Clacks to install and train them on their own small-scale vertical growing towers. Together with teaching staff the aim is to spark young imaginations and begin to develop the green skills of the future.

Click here to learn more about ‘Growing A New Future

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