The EVOC Red Book

The online directory to find third sector Organisations, and their services across Edinburgh

Grow Stronger is a community led food growing initiative, which innovatively tackles the issues of producing food locally, and reducing food waste. This is delivered by building community capacity and individual volunteer skills, using an inclusive inter-generational approach to reducing carbon consumption.

The project takes place in Gilmerton, Gracemount & Moredun and enable residents to become less reliant on imported and intensively grown food, and more self-sufficient. These measures also help guard against future climate change by reducing the collective carbon footprint, and will allow the residents to build a more resilient community.

The project started November 2013 with funding from the Scottish Government through the Climate Challenge Fund.

Community engagement

We will be working with communities who are traditionally less aware of carbon related issues and who have fewer opportunities to take part in activities that promote carbon reduction. The key will be to ensure that our approaches and methods offer practical help and solutions

Our community engagement work includes:

- Introducing our workshops to schools, focusing on composting food waste and awareness of the seasonal calendar.
- Increasing the growing and cooking of local, seasonal food and reducing the amount of food waste.
- Supporting knowledge transfer through recruiting peer educators to work with youth groups and mentors with growers
- Conducting in-depth interviews with families about carbon behaviour and sharing the findings
- Volunteer-run film nights and talks to recruit people with gardens and expand involvement in the community

Working with volunteers

The core of our work with local community volunteers will involve running skills development courses for 450 adults, young people and children. These will focus on a variety of subjects, including hot-boxing, growing your own vegetables, composting, fruit tree maintenance, seasonal cooking and reducing waste.

The walled garden at Gracemount and other sites in the project areas will take centre stage in our ambitions. The space will be used for training, a pop up café venue, and as a meeting space.

After participants have gained the necessary skills and confidence, individuals in this “core group” will be encouraged and supported to engage with the wider community and to become mentors to beginner gardeners.

Our volunteer development work includes:

- Supporting volunteers to organise and deliver community based events such as seed swaps and apple days
- Linking volunteer development with other initiatives such as the Pop-up Café s by providing opportunities for volunteers to organise events and take part in the workshops
- Encouraging people to understand the links between growing, purchasing, consuming and waste


We aim to encourage people to enjoy and learn more about local and seasonal food, supporting them to feel more confident about cooking for themselves, family and friends.

Have you ever wanted to ask any questions about food and cooking? Well our expert food worker is available every week for easy going advice, cooking classes, accredited training. Learn to cook with friends, have a cuppa and a chat.

Weekly community meal

Kitchen open from 10am until 2pm making a variety of cakes/scones, then a light lunch is free to anyone, everything is made with local seasonal food. Donations of items can be given if people wish to contribute.

REHIS elementary hygiene training, and practical cooking skills free courses to give away.

We have the famous “KITCHEN CANNY” course available free too.

Every Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 10am-2pm. Food served between 12.30 and 12.45pm

VOLUNTEERS welcomed, improve your cooking skills, free certified food and hygiene training available.

Come and have fun, learn, help others and make new friends

Get in touch, we would would love to meet you and help you GROW STRONGER in your cooking confidence, look forward to hearing from you……
All ages
Days and Times
Wednesday 10am - 2pm
Thursday 10am - 2pm
Friday 10am - 2pm
Gracemount Youth & Community Centre
47 Gracemount House Drive, Gracemount
EH16 6FD

South East 
Contact Details
Contact Person: Donna McArdle
Contact Telephone: 07972 279 159 / 07932 048 291
Contact Email:

This record was last modified on: 17 October 2016