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Grow Urquhart community project has plans to grow; Loch Ness initiative encourages more sustainable living

By Staff Reporter

Kat Lee and the Grow Urquhart committee and friends at the screening of the documentary
Kat Lee and the Grow Urquhart committee and friends at the screening of the documentary

A DRIVE to encourage more sustainable living on the banks of Loch Ness is continuing to expand, with hopes land can be made available to allow locals to grow their own produce.

Worried by the effects of climate change, Drumnadrochit resident Kat Lee (38) started the Grow Urquhart project earlier this year.

To cut down on waste, it has already set up a community fridge where both people and local businesses can deposit their own excess, but still edible, food for use by those in need.

An appeal for donations of plastic bottles that can be turned into “eco bricks” which can then be put to a variety of uses including as the building blocks for environmentally-friendly greenhouses attracted support from as far south as Glasgow.

A documentary on the volunteer-run group’s work, titled Drum for the Future, was shown at the Loch Ness Film Festival in July and, as evidence that its influence may be starting to spread, it has also been working with a group in Maryburgh near Dingwall which is looking to follow its lead.

Explaining the thinking behind the setting up of the Grow Urquhart group Mrs Lee said: “I am concerned that climate change will bring great uncertainty about the availability of food, including its costs and sources, and the fear is that the younger generations will not have the know-how to grow their own food.

Kat Lee
Kat Lee

“The idea was then to create a community space and also to teach children how to run their own orchard.

“We want to create an environment where food is available to everyone.

“We are now hoping to access bits of land where we can create community gardens.

“We have been working closely with the local community and contacting landowners.

“We also set up a drop-in session in July to inform people of what we are doing and are organising an initial data collection to inform wehere we go from here.”

The project has received widespread support from the community.

David Fraser, vice chairman of Glen Urquhart Community council, welcomed the work that Grow Urquhart has been doing to improve the environment.

“We will look during the consultation at the best options for the land needed for the community garden,” he said.

“It’s positive that Grow Urquhart have taken on the concerns of the community and will try to address them.”

For more information on the group and how to get involved see their Facebook page or contact the Tourist Information Centre in Drumnadrochit.

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