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Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society

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The SAGS Board

SAGS is governed by a Board of Trustees, elected by the members of the Society in annual elections. The Trustees have responsibility for the work of the Society and for ensuring it meets the requirements of a charity and its governance. 

The Board has been working on a change programme and, alongside the retirement of some veteran contributors, has added new members with experience and skills which will helps SAGS to deliver on its strategic goals to broaden and deepen its impact in support of allotmenteers and allotment groups. Individuals who are interested in the work of SAGS are welcome to apply for election to the Board. For more information contact [email protected] 

President's Statement

Current president, Richard Crawford, shares his aspirations for the future of SAGS. 

The Current Board

The current board was elected in July 2022 in a ballot of SAGS members.

               

Richard Crawford, President

I have been involved with gardening from a very young age. My grandfather had a large garden with an orchard, flower garden and vegetable plot of about a quarter of an acre where I learned about gardening. There are pictures of me at the age of two helping to push wheelbarrows and plant flowers and vegetables. 

I later joined my local allotment society where I became one of the office-bearers within a year or two. My love of growing my own food to benefit not only my immediate family but that of my wider family too sparked that same enjoyment with my children and, now my grandchildren. 

I am passionate in my belief that allotment space should be made available to more and more people for them to enjoy the fruits and vegetables of their labours. 

I have always been an active member of any allotment associations I have been involved with and this has led to me joining the SAGS board with a view to helping to create a more positive attitude within the government and local authorities to growing space, helping to improve physical and mental health and contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Geraldine Sherry, Vice-President

My name is Geraldine Sherry, I’m a third year student studying for my degree in horticulture.

I have had my allotment in the East End of Glasgow since 2013, it’s my favourite place in the world. I am the chair of my allotment association committee and have been for almost 5 years.

I recognise the many benefits of having an allotment can bring, not just the obvious access to home grown fruit and vegetables and the advantages of being out in the fresh air, but the positive mental health benefits that being part of an allotment community can bring.

This gives me the motivation is to get as many people as possible that want an allotment or access to a community garden be given the means to do so. I hope that by being a member of the board of SAGS I can help make this a reality.

Growing spaces not only help reduce the effects of climate change and benefit the environment, they can also improve how a person feels about themselves and that can't ever be a bad thing.

Fiona MacKinnon, Secretary

I’m a Social Care Worker in a residential care home for people with dementia. One of the projects I’m working on is with our residents coming to the allotment to grow their own veg in purpose-built community boxes, which has led to our home investing in a polytunnel.

For many years I worked in event management creating environmental and local history projects for communities, schools, and projects for the city of Glasgow. I went on to work with persons with learning disabilities working with them to create vegetable gardens, sensory raised beds and tree planting and used this to improve the lives of the people I cared for.

I now live in Stornoway, where my father came from, and I have my first allotment. When I was young my relatives on Lewis were almost self-sufficient, they had their own crofts, livestock, grew vegetables and fishing was a big part of their lives. Today, families are dependent on the ferry service to bring food from the mainland to the island.

Since COVID there has been a huge increase in the interest of growing vegetables here, as the communities have legitimate concerns for the increase in the cost of living together with a poor ferry service.

This is where SAGS and I could play a supportive role in the importance of raising awareness of locally produced nutrient dense food on allotments to this community.

Trevor Watson, Treasurer

I have spent over thirty years in business management, including ten years as a company commercial director. I was a member-nominated trustee of the group pension scheme for thirteen years, director of a joint churches ecumenical youth initiative in the South-side of Glasgow and director of the Carron Valley Development Group responsible for planning, raising funds for and delivering mountain bike trails.

 

As an Elder in my local church I am a trustee of that charity organisation, and during my twenty years as treasurer of the Stewardship & Projects committee I have overseen the raising and disbursing of several hundred-thousand pounds for partner charities, often building the relationships and making appeals for those causes personally.

 

In my leisure time I am also involved in Scouting, leading mountain bike and water-sport activity training, as well as being a director of the Glasgow Highland Club and a Personal Licence holder, able to authorise the sale of alcohol in Scotland.

 

As a champion of community, learning and social empowerment, I look forward to continuing to support the efforts of SAGS to combat food poverty through local growing initiatives and to assist socially marginalised groups in Scotland to enjoy fresh, healthy food sustainability. 

 

Mandy Fooks

I began gardening as a pre-schooler ‘helping’ dad in his allotment-like vegetable garden.  Eventually this led to my first proper job as ‘apprentice boy in the gardens’ at our local agricultural college. 

After various gardening jobs and a horticultural course at Writtle College, I worked in the grain trade as a seed analyst. After moving to Scotland, I found myself teaching basic gardening to young people with additional needs or long term unemployed who might want a change of career.

Now retired, I am on the waiting list for a plot. I was involved with SAGS for some years and am very happy to have been invited back to rejoin the SAGS board and work with the new board members to take SAGS forward as a SCIO, facing the challenges of a post-covid era.

Julie Kilpatrick

I have been lucky enough to turn my passion for gardening into a career. I am a lecturer in horticulture at Glasgow Clyde College and edit an online gardening resource magazine, Gardenzine. I am also member of the Garden Media Guild and have written my first book, The Plant Listener. I trained in habitat surveying with the Scottish Wildlife Trust before running a landscape design and construction business. I spent two years as a home compost advisor, working with local authorities to encourage householders to compost.

 

My approach to gardening is firmly organic and holistic and I have a keen interest in encouraging bio-diversity, especially through the creation of urban wildlife corridors. As a home compost advisor, I was fortunate to visit a number of allotments, community gardens and schools gardens. It was my favourite part of the job and I witnessed the positive effect local allotments and gardens have on the community. I believe gardening, especially growing your own food, is strongly beneficial for mental health and there is no better way to do that, than in a thriving community space.

 

Currently, I manage the SAGS website and newsletter.

Alistair MacKinnon

I was previously a member of the SAGS committee from 2008 until 2019, when I resigned to focus on creating an allotment site in my local area. This process began in 2005 and, like so many others, I am still a ‘Virtual Plot-Holder’.

During my time with SAGS, I have attended so many meetings, committees and conferences, I’ve lost count. I helped construct section 9 of The Community Empowerment Act and, over the years, I have been involved with discussions with the Scottish Government on issues such as localised food production, mycoremediation of soils, bee colony collapse, permaculture and allotment land use. I have given presentations on urban and rural issues in acquiring land and setting up a community-based permaculture growing site.

I returned to SAGS in 2021 and would very much like to continue my role in this new form of SAGS.

I am currently in discussions with the Scottish Government on a review of the Community Empowerment Act in terms of section 9.

My goal is to create a local allotment site that is fit for purpose for the next few decades. If successful, we will use the Community Empowerment Act to transfer the site into community control. 

Malcolm MacQueen

I have been involved with allotments and community gardens for some time. 

As chairperson of Organic Growers of Fairlie, we have helped set up several growing spaces in a variety of areas.

 I am also involved in community woodland growing projects and restoration of habitats. 

 I have been part of SAGS for a number of years and am keen to promote new sites.