Falkirk Energy Fair

Friends of the Earth Falkirk are holding the Falkirk Energy Fair on Wednesday 14th December at Falkirk Old and St Modans Church, Manse Place, Falkirk, FK1 1JN, We have speakers confirmed from Transition Linlithgw and Community Energy Scotland. The event will have stalls to encourage energy reduction and the Fair will start with a cafe at 5pm if people are only able to come for the energy advice. The speakers will start at 7pm and there will be workshops around 8pm for group discussion.


The Fourth and Final Garden gets under way

The fourth, the biggest and the final Friends of the Earth Falkirk community garden got its initial turn over on Saturday 22nd October. The Bean Row garden is south facing and will enable to group to grow food, demonstrate composting and provide plants for the other three gardens.

The reason the Garden needed some TLC


Work started on Community Garden in Kings Court

With the negotiations with the owner of the land Friends of the Earth Falkirk have been given permission to maintain two town centre gardens. The Kings Court Garden (pictured) is a dark area where litter has been a long term issue. A litter pick on Sunday cleared a collection of fast food wrappers, bottles and cans. The hope is that if a community garden can be established the litter can be reduced.

Our final community garden will be developed on Bean Row, just round the corner. This will be a good space to grow flowers and food. Work will start on the both gardens over the next couple of weeks to get it in shape for planting after the winter.

Clean Zone Sign on Orphan Land Garden

Our Clean Zone sign which explains that Friends of the Earth Falkirk have adopted the Arnot Street Garden has been put up on our garden wall. The sign has been provide by Falkirk Council Litter Strategy Team as part of our involvement in their Orphan Land Pilot Project.


LOAF meal at AGM

Friends of the Earth Falkirk held a “LOAF” meal as part of our AGM on Saturday 10th September. LOAF stands for Local, Organic, and Fairtrade, and once you try to put together a dish that satisfies those criteria, you realise how tricky it can be. I fell at the first hurdle and sheepishly handed over a packet of organic shortbread from The Engine Shed, a social enterprise cafe and organic bakery in Edinburgh. Ethical and tasty but a bit of a cop-out!The other members of our group outclassed themselves with their delicious and imaginative contributions, which you can see illustrated in the photograph below.

We drank mint tea with mint that Norman had grown in his window box, and ate our (local) rolls with organic spreads he provided.

Corrie made a salad from her own garden and allotment produce; the ingredients list is pure poetry! Good King Henry, red amaranth, salad burnet, rocket, radish, spinach and sorrel, the leaves and flowers from borage and nasturtium, all on a bed of three sorts of lettuce. It looked and tasted gorgeous. She also provided a bramble cake and bramble jam as well as a spicy runner-bean chutney. The brambles were foraged from secret Falkirk locations, but she is willing to reveal that the apples were foraged from trees at the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert! The eggs were free range, from Larbert, and the oil was from a Mid-Lothian producer who has a stand at Falkirk Farmers' market. The honey came from Stirling.

Jean brought an absolute feast: salad, green beans, quiche, plum tart, tomatoes and pickled beetroot. The quiche was made using eggs kindly given by Mr and Mrs R Murray of Camelon, and the vegetables were from Jean's own landshare plot. Her salad leaves, herbs, garlic and raspberries were also all home-grown. The flour, oils, vinegar, salt and peppercorns were all Fairtrade. Mr and Mrs Murray also provided plums from their bountiful tree which went into the gorgeous plum-and-marzipan tart, using milk and butter from our nearest Dairy, Graham's at Bridge of Allan. Jean used “Silver Spoon” sugar made from Bristish Sugar Beet. The marzipan was left over from decorating a child's birthday cake.

Gerard and Carole provided a lovely courgette quiche which was made with their home-grown courgettes and some from Fife. They used butter from Graham's, eggs from Angus, herbs from their garden and organic flour which came from England. Carole also provided one of the highlights of the meal, a great big bowl of Cranachan. This was made with double cream from Graham's, honey from Larbert, Perthshire raspberries and oatmeal from Aberdeenshire.

Friends of the Earth envisions a future where eating local food is not an eccentric pursuit; in the meantime we always enjoy our LOAF meals. They are fun but they are also the starting point for useful conversations about the nurturing of local food systems. There are so many benefits, including: food security for all people; fair prices for producers; shorter food chains and
fewer food miles; and increased links between producers and consumers.

During the meal, each contributor spoke about the experience of harvesting, foraging or shopping for their “LOAF” ingredients and we discussed how much of a challenge it had been. Gerard lamented how hard it is to find genuine Scottish flour, and then Corrie regaled us with the story of how she cycled 50 miles to Blair Atholl to buy the flour for her Bramble cake – bona fide Scottish flour, from stone-ground wheat produced in a 16th century water-powered mill! You don't get much more authentic than that. 

Jessica Paterson 


Our first mosaic workshop

Last Sunday we got all creative and started decorating the bollards at the Arnot Street site. A huge thanks to Jaine Marriott, our excellant teacher and a fantastic professional mosaic producer (see her website http://www.jainemarriotmosaics.co.uk/ to see her work). Here are some photos of us hard at work. Photos of the results are posted below


Friends of the Earth Falkirk AGM 10th September

The Friends of the Earth Falkirk AGM will be held as part of a day of action on Saturday 10th September 2011. At 11am the group will encourage shoppers at Falkirk High Street to "say NO to plastic bags" by handing out cotton shopping bags in partnership with Falkirk BID. At Lunchtime the group will share a Local lunch with the food sources as local, organic or Fairtrade as possible. The afternoon session will be an opportunity to plan the groups campaigns and events around our usual campaign themes of Waste, Food, Transport, Energy and Environmental Justice.

Bugs arrive on Arnot Street Bollards

ASDA Garden Takes Shape

Friends of the Earth Falkirk planted out their Community Garden at ASDA Falkirk before their August meeting. After a couple of sessions to clear the ASDA site our second garden starts to take shape. The group purchased plants and herbs from the Gartinny Nurseries , which supports Scottish Autism, to create a sensory garden which will hopefully make people think twice about using the garden as a litter bin or an ashtray while waiting for their bus.


Donations to the Orphan Garden

Before the June meeting of Foe Falkirk some of the group meet at the community garden to tidy up the garden. A local resident came to the garden and asked Jessica if we worked for the council. When she said, "no- we are volunteers with Friends of the Earth Falkirk", the gentleman handed over a bag of alcohol. He stated his flat looked over the garden and he appreciates the effort the group has made. That night we also got a donation of wild strawberries from Ronnie, a mutual friend of some of the group.

Later that same week we were donated flowers from Hannia at the Litter Strategy Team. They needed to be planted the evening we got them and we needed water to give them a chance to survive the hot spell we were experiencing. As previously mentioned in the blog there is a local resident with a tap in his garage behind the garden who has shown an interest in the garden. Norman went and spoke to him and we were able to water the new additions the garden. When the man came round he explained that he had already chased someone who had been helping them self to our plants. He didn't give much hope for our new plants not been stolen. Unfortunately some of the new plants have disappeared but there is still plenty of colour to keep the garden looking great.


Cycle Route Litter Pick

In preparation for Bike to Work week Friends of the Earth Falkirk carried out a litter pick at one of the routes to Grangemouth which leads to the Primrose Avenue underpass.

The local group are taking part in a
Bike to Work event at Grangemouth town centre on Sunday 26th June at the Transition Town Grangemouth shop.
There will be a number of stalls on the day, including FoE Falkirk, as well as bike maintenance and a guided cycle through the town. The event starts at 11am.


Second Garden Identified in Falkirk Town Centre

Friends of the Earth Falkirk have identified our second community garden. Unlike our orphaned land garden at Arnot Street, we know who own this garden. The group will be working with ASDA to try and keep the new site litter free and hopefully brighten up this area of Falkirk.


This is a Garden not and Ashtray

some artwork for our new garden in the town centre


At the start of May I went to the garden with a bag of water to try and save the plants we had planted at the April group meeting. Kevin had been and planted the lavender hedgeand it was great to see the latest development on the site. As it had been dry for a week I started to give everything a fair share of water i had taken with me. One of our neighbours came out and asked where my bike was and asked about the garden- were we the council? When I gave him some information he told me his garage is the one behind the garden and it has a TAP. Did I want to use it. Not only did it have a tap it had a hose and he said it should reach the garden- and it did. So I socked the garden. He said I he would try and give it a water if it stays dry. Result- community participation with the most precious of support- WATER.



Work continues on the Community Garden

On Saturday 9th April members of the group were reminded that the community garden project is essentially a litter programme. Before the planting could go ahead the site had to be cleared of food rappers and plastic bottles.


Friends of the Earth help with treeplanting in Bonnybridge

On Saturday 26 March members and family of the FOE Falkirk group spent a lovely sunny spring morning helping to plant over 400 trees at the Bonnyfield nature park in Bonnybridge. We transformed the land from the picture on the left to the one on the right

Thanks to Ian Edwards at Falkirk Council and the Bonnyfield group for inviting us along


Orphan Land Project

Friends of the Earth Falkirk have been asked to participate in the Falkirk Council Litter Strategy's Orphan Land Pilot Project. The local Friends of the Earth group have been looking at areas to guerrilla garden and had identified a site on Arnot Sreet in the centre of Falkirk, at the entrance to the Old Polish Club and opposite the Glasgow Buildings Car Park. The site identified fits with the Orphan Land objectives and the local group are happy to take forward their community gardening action as part of the Litter Strategy's pilot project

On Saturday 12th February the group met at the site to discuss the gardening proposals for the coming months.