RECORDING OUR HARVEST
Recording our harvest each year is essential to what we do as we aim to reduce carbon emissions. Growing and eating food that is locally sourced means that we are consuming less imported foods which have a higher cost to the environment. It is estimated that for every ton of food we grow we save 1 ton of carbon from reaching the atmosphere.
At Each garden site there is a recording station either in a box, a shed or a toll storage unit. There is a scale and a note book to record what you’ve picked and how much it weighs. Throughout the year, we add these figures up to get a total of all the garden sites and how much carbon we have saved.
In addition to the Edible Gardens, we also spend time in a few of the Community Orchards including St Leonard’s Orchard and Stanks park where we collect, weight and share the glut of apples available in St Andrews. In the winter season we return to the Orchard to learn how to prune fruit trees at The Apple Pruning Skillshare and help maintain the orchard.
Another good year after a fairly cool spring we had a warm summer and very mild autumn. Albany Park had an incredible year and nearly doubled the volume of food produced whilst most site’s recorded a small increase. Most noticeable was an increase in rhubarb, berry fruits and beans in the harvest although Strawberries did not seem to have as good a year as 2014 – which was exceptional!
We had a bumper harvest this year after a very mild winter, warm spring and scorching summer (for Fife anyway) which, alongside new gardens opening at Uni Hall and the Botanic Gardens greenhouse, helped bring our grown harvest up to 350kg. The orchard harvest was down quite a bit though with only 230kg harvested from St Leonards and a further 30kg from the Careers centre garden bringing our total annual harvest to 612kg.
We harvest 520kg this year of which 180kg were vegetables grown across the campus and the rest was fruit harvested from the Old St Leonards School Orchard and distributed to halls. Potatoes made up the bulk of the harvest (103kg) with salads coming in at 20kg and most other veggies being less than 10kg. In terms of value the salads and soft fruits would probably head the list along with the huge amount of apples.
At the start of the year we were growing on around 100m2 of ground at 3 sites and now have over 260m2 at 6 sites. Next year we would like to double the growing area again through adding a further 3 sites at Gannochy, Uni and John Burnett halls.
The majority of the work is carried out by volunteers who enjoy the opportunity to do some physical activity, learn a few skills and have the satisfaction of growing food. Its hard to keep track of all those that spent time in the gardens but we have at least 70 people who registered at the sessions and harvest whatever is ready. That averages out at nearly 3kg veg per volunteer.