Supporting the development of a Community Food Hub in Glasgow’s East End

The sustainability of local food systems has global economic and environmental implications. UofG research underpinned the establishment of a Community Food Hub in Dalmarnock, one of the City’s most deprived areas, which supports sustainable local food production and healthy consumption.

The research

From 2013 onwards, a programme of UofG research investigated issues of sustainability through the development of community gardens and local food spaces.

Researchers examined the effects of community gardening on local residents and analysed the contribution of such initiatives to more sustainable forms of ‘prosumption’ (production and consumption) of food in urban areas.

Findings indicated that community gardens and local food growing initiatives demonstrated a wide range of benefits, including: enhanced community cohesion; improved wellbeing; increased knowledge of food; healthy consumption and sustainable production.

The research also highlighted the proximity between the most disadvantaged communities and derelict land. This led to two projects that identified the need for enhanced community food provision in Dalmarnock, an area of multiple deprivation in Glasgow’s East End.

The impact

Based upon the two EU/Scottish Government-funded Social Innovation Fund projects, UofG researchers and Baltic Street Adventure Playground have pioneered an award-winning Community Food Hub in Dalmarnock.

A short film about Baltic Street Adventure Playground

An area of once-derelict land has been transformed into a thriving community space, which now sustains an array of fresh produce to support communal cooking experiences and the provision of nutritious meals.

This child-focused project brings parents and guardians together with experienced growers in an area where fresh, affordable food is not always readily available. Baltic Street Adventure Playground is used throughout the year, particularly over school holidays, with over 7,400 visits and 15,000 meal portions served over the summer of 2019.

The projects raised beds and polytunnel now produce a range of fruit and vegetables from a growing area of approximately 250 square metres. Local growers added that: ‘carrots proved particularly popular with the children, who liked to pull them directly from the ground, wash them and eat them straight away’.

Produce grown on site is integrated into the daily menu in salads, pasta sauces and curries. It also supports informal learning experiences to develop participants’ knowledge of the food system and healthy eating. The produce grown locally is supplemented with food deliveries twice a week from the anti-food-waste charity, FareShare.