A new urban farm for Edinburgh
Lauriston Farm is an exciting and ambitious new project coordinated by the Edinburgh Agroecology Cooperative (EAC) to transform 100 acres of land in North West Edinburgh, from sheep-grazed fields to a multi-functional integrated land use project for people, wildlife and food-growing. The project is a local response to the growing challenges of climate change, biodiversity collapse and the lack of access to healthy, fresh, affordable food for many.
EAC aims to start work on the land towards the end of 2021, beginning with planting over 10,000 trees, setting up the infrastructure for the market garden and community allotments and implementing actions to enhance wildlife habitat.
Overall, the farm will have approximately 5 hectares of woodland, hedgerows and orchard alleys. Food growing will take place on approximately 11 hectares; in addition to the veg being grown in the market garden, crops like grains, pulses, soft fruit and top fruit will be produced, some within an agroforestry system (whereby crops are grown in alleys between rows of trees). A further 2.5 hectares will be for community allotments and a community orchard. Biodiversity is key across the whole site, with the north field of the farm being managed for the main purpose of wildlife habitat enhancement and the existing bird populations.
In the future, there will be small enterprises on site – current discussions for these include a seed-saving business, medical herbalists, cut flowers and a tree or wildflower nursery. There will be land-based jobs and internships offered, various ways to volunteer, as well as a range of learning opportunities including food-growing, tree-care, seed-saving and biodiversity monitoring.
EAC is committed to an approach that ensures equity and community cohesion, finding ways to make sure that the produce from the farm is accessible to all, regardless of income levels. Further to this, is the ethos that everyone feels welcome on the farm and is able to engage with the space in various ways, whether that’s counting the wading birds, planting trees, learning to grow food, joining a harvest celebration or just taking a walk and admiring the view.
It’s likely that this will be the largest urban farm in Scotland, but the hope is that more urban farm projects like this start up across the country. A future where cities and towns in Scotland have local farms growing a wide range of fresh produce for the people, people are more connected to where their food comes from and land use in and around cities is managed in a way to provide multiple benefits for people’s health and the environment.
The team have been involved in doing “walk abouts” around the site for local community councils and will respond to requests for a tour from interested groups.
You can comment on the project and get in touch by using the website contact form.
Lisa Houston, Edinburgh Agroecology Cooperative