Incredible Edible Balfron

Incredible Edible Balfron is based in the village of Balfron, Stirlingshire, and has been running since March 2015. The project initially focused on two plots in the village – one outside the Register Office on Buchanan Street, and the other at the corner of Cotton Street and Buchanan Street (locally known as ‘Tontine Corner’). By 2018, it also includes an additional bed at Tontine Corner, and a growing garden at the local primary school.

The project started after one of the current volunteer leaders was inspired by an article on the “Incredible Edible” movement, which started in the English town of Todmorden. A call for replicating the project was made to the village through the local Facebook page, which resulted in a small community meeting. This was followed by an application for (and allocation of) a small grant from the Council and another community meeting, this time with a large and positive attendance.

At the moment the project is mainly run by three volunteers, plus a floating group of around 5 other people who come and help when needed. Despite the low levels of volunteers, the group organises workshops and harvest festivals, has been involved in the planning, construction and establishment of a growing garden at the local primary school, and have been involved as many different parts of the community as possible. The local community clearly appreciate the efforts of the group, supporting their activities, and using the produce, even if they don’t get involved directly themselves.

The Tontine corner currently consists of: a long wooden trough donated by a local resident and decorated by the local children’s art club, growing strawberries; a herb garden built as a rockery using rocks donated by a local drystone waller and landscaper; beds growing different types of vegetables and flowers; and two ‘hugelkultur’ raised beds in the shape of crescent moons. These beds surround a central metal frame designed and donated to the project by a local blacksmith artist, where flowers and beans grow.

During the second year of the project, with the intention of engaging more of the community, the bed at the Register Office was handed over to the local Cubs Club, who still maintain it very successfully.