Fearn FREE FOOD Garden

During the summer of 2020 we ran a small Free Market Stall every Saturday, 11-2, where we shared our veg and plants. We are planning to do the same again in 2021.

What is a Free Food Garden?

It’s literally a garden where we grow free food for you. We’re building it on our land, on a section that is currently overgrown (though we did grow some food on it last year), and within easy access from the lane that goes past our house. The food we grow there will be free for anyone to harvest – no need to help out, or donate, or anything like that. We’ve been planning to do this for a while but were spurred on by the 2019 election results.

In 2020 we have distributed over 1400 free plants to our local community and given away free food every week from May to mid-September.

Our History

At the beginning of 2020 we built the Fearn Free Food Garden on a wee bit of unused land by the side of our lane. We’re on the unnamed road behind the hotel in Fearn – the footpath to the village shop. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis we realised that there would be a greater need for folks to have access to local food, so we quickly started to sow a lot more, and to turn over more of the main garden (behind the hedge) into veg beds, and to grow a lot more veg plants to share.

The Fearn Free Food Garden at the end of March 2020.
The Fearn Free Food Garden space in February 2020

Funding

When we set out the small piece of land was unkempt and had no beds. We needed to raise money to make the area productive and welcoming, and to fix the shed and provide a safe space for folks to pack up their harvest. We’d also hope buy some tools, wellies and gloves for visitors to the garden, and we needed compost, woodchips and pots. A small polytunnel to the side of the shed would allow us to grow food in all seasons, and it could also become a future teaching space as well as somewhere for us to grow more seedlings for local projects. We also need signage, flyers and advertising so folks know this resources is there for them, and we’d like to be able to provide a place to sit and have a cup of tea.

To date we have raised over £1400 through donations and the sale of hats. We have also received donations of produce, plants, yarn, compost, wood, plant pots, and planters, as well as a generous donation of seeds from The Free Seed Company and from individuals on instagram. In addition we were awarded a community grant from North Highland Initiative for the purchase of two polytunnels and 600L of compost. We’re very grateful!