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Pictured: (back row) library staff Bill, Ines, Jennifer, Lynne (front row) members of Falkirk Gardening group

Libraries across the area are branching out with a new lending initiative to help people create fresh meals from plant pot to plate

Gardening bags can now be borrowed from all eight libraries across the area and are designed to equip local people with the tools and knowledge to cultivate fresh, home grown fruit and vegetables.

The bags contain hand tools, gardening books and kneeling mat in a gardening bag, as well as seeds, plant markers and growing advice cards and recipe cards so people can start cooking with what they have grown.

The bags can be borrowed by over 16s for 8 weeks and are free to use thanks to funding of £8,300 from The Europe Challenge Fund.

Through the Europe Challenge funding Falkirk Libraries is working in partnership with FDAMH who are creating a community garden with a group undertaking The John Muir Awards.  The group will also work on the creation of a local food network directory.

The idea to provide gardening bags stemmed from the new ‘Libraries Strategy 2023-27’ which set out a number of themes include sustainability and wellbeing.

By providing access to skills, training, technology and collaborative workspaces, libraries can support economic recovery.

Councillor Gary Bouse, spokesperson for Housing and Communities said: “With libraries at the forefront of the sharing economy, there’s no better place to provide access to these new grow bags which will help promote sustainable practices.  

“The ethos of the project is to help everyone have access to affordable, produce by showing them how to grow sustainably in their own space, no matter the size.

“We want to make the journey from produce to plate easier, to help address environmental issues such as sustainability, carbon food print and emissions.”

On the back of the project Falkirk Library launched a gardening group last week which takes place once a month with the next meeting on 21st May at 3pm. Slamannan Library already has a gardening group that meets every 2 weeks on a Thursday at 4pm. Their next meeting is May 9th.  The groups are open for anyone to drop in and are free.  Future plans include a seed and recipe card exchange to help more local people grow their own.