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  • National Park City Group

Could a National Park City Help Communities Grow Together, Safely?

With thanks to our supporters Central Scotland Green Network Trust - our latest lockdown reflections from a National Park City in waiting includes some great funding news for Glasgow's community growers and some thoughts on how a National Park City can inspire innovation in our vital greenspaces...

For households across Glasgow, the city’s larger greenspace offerings have been a welcome solace for locals seeking to clear their heads, enjoy exercise and, more recently as lockdown measures have eased, meet other households at a safe distance. Add to that a long spell of favourable weather, and locals renewed appreciation of these parks and walks has swelled.

At the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Trust, we have long been improving access to good quality greenspace through both our project delivery services and our funding programmes, recognising the multiple benefits they bring to the surrounding area and residents.

As we launch our new Growing Food Together fund, we have been thinking about the role growing projects might have in a national park city and how we can bring communities closer together through growing projects – a valuable aspect and benefit of our work – while adhering to safe social-distancing practices.

The fund is supported by Scottish government who has also published guidance for community food-growing sites. This helpful document sets out what is not permitted during this phase, such as communal activities and events, and ways to stay safe, such as implementing a one-way system to help maintain 2-metre physical distancing.

We have seen how shops have successfully adapted to social distancing requirements. What is also encouraging is the new and surprising ways organisations and individuals are finding to continue being productive – whether it’s local restaurants offering dine-at-home menus, to large scale drive-in music concerts, it just shows how resourceful we can be during challenging times.

During our series of annual conference events we sought inspiration from across the world, with presentations from projects such as New York’s High Line, Milan’s Bosco Verticale and Singapore’s Garden by the Bay. For me though, I was always excited to hear from entries to the event’s CSGN Ideas Fund, as here we saw local talent thinking creatively and pushing boundaries - where else do you see proposals to repurpose Edinburgh Waverly Station’s rooftops as a greenhouse for tomato plants, or to grow a city centre oat field overlooked by the Kingston Bridge?

So, what if there was more innovation in Glasgow’s greenspaces?

How can we participate in growing projects together safely? And can this help us to discover new ideas for what our greenspaces could be and how they are used, what they could do to support our communities, and how they can help deliver a green recovery?

One of the aims of creating a Glasgow National Park City is to connect, amplify and support the work of individuals and groups. So perhaps a national park city can become a driver and unifying element to inspire creativity and collaboration and bring together innovation in greenspaces.

We are really looking forward to receiving ideas for our Growing Food Together fund, and applicants are being asked specifically about how they will deliver their projects within coronavirus restrictions. This will ensure we are able to develop safe practices for these community spaces, as they will be, now more than ever, important areas for people to come together as lockdown measures are gradually eased.

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