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Exploring the potential of urban agriculture to alleviate food poverty

Group users of the Dundee Association for Mental Health at our Invergowrie site
"Not only will a successful project lead to the provision of healthy, nutritious food for communities, but the production of the fruit will include the benefits of physical activity and fresh air along with the potential to increase green space in urban areas"

Is urban agriculture a viable alternative for members of the community that are unable to access fresh fruit and vegetables more easily because of social, financial or geographical barriers? An InnovateUK funded research project led by the James Hutton Institute’s commercial subsidiary, James Hutton Limited, aims to develop a model for growing soft fruit in public spaces to make it more accessible and help alleviate food poverty and health issues in society.

Snook, a Glasgow-based social innovation company, has been undertaking the research for the project, while the James Hutton Institute contributes its experience in soft fruit breeding and production, as well as general agricultural advice.

Dundee has been selected as a model city for the research and Snook has engaged with a range of stakeholders, from academics to community groups, exploring how Dundonians might interact with such a scheme. 

Group users of the Dundee Association for Mental Health (DAMH) visited the James Hutton Institute’s Dundee site recently to hear more about soft fruit and crop science from scientists and breeders, and about the Tayberry Seedling project.

DAMH is the first group to visit the Institute in relation to the project and it is hoped that users from DAMH’s ‘Greenbuds’ group in particular, which supports individuals to access the outdoors to improve mental health and wellbeing and takes an interest in the development of local green spaces, is just one group that might be able to contribute opinions to how an eventual community project might work.

Project Manager David Somerville, of James Hutton Limited, said: “There are a lot of layers to this project. Not only will a successful project lead to the provision of healthy, nutritious food for communities, but the production of the fruit will include the benefits of physical activity and fresh air along with the potential to increase green space in urban areas, which is known to have a positive impact on mental health. 

“Talking to a number of local groups, with differing interests and aims, will give us an understanding of the needs of citizens from different areas of society and ensure that the end results are focussed and relevant.”

Reflecting on their recent outing to the Institute's Dundee site, a spokesperson for DAMH commented: “The Greenbuds group really enjoyed their visit to the James Hutton Institute. It was a great opportunity to find out more about the processes involved in growing berries and have a look behind the scenes. 

“We would like to thank the Institute for putting together a relaxed and informative session that allowed individuals, who would not normally have the opportunity, to engage with a scientific organisation. We hope to put into practice some of the things we have learned!”

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/exploring-potential-urban-agriculture-alleviate-food-poverty on 23/07/18 07:15:31 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.