Church’s new food garden aims to reduce local food poverty

St Margarets church, Lochgilphead has begun a food garden to share with the community

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A Lochgilphead church has begun planting its garden with fruit and vegetables to be shared with the Mid Argyll community.

Parishioners of St Margaret’s church have been discussing rising prices and threatened food shortages as part of their Justice and Peace group and decided to take direct action to help people struggling with the cost of living.

The produce harvested from the church’s garden will be shared with the Lochgilphead MS Centre which distributes surplus food from local supermarkets.

Before the pandemic the Justice and Peace group had the idea of making part of the garden a haven for pollinators, planting shrubs and flowers that would attract bees, butterflies and insects to help regenerate the environment.

Parishioner Marian Pallister said: ‘The pandemic closed down progress, but now the group sees that as a blessing, because it made them re-think the plan.

‘Tyres that were to be used as planters solely for flowers will now also grow salads, fruit and other veg.’

Cecelia Rees, who drew the original design for this area of the garden added: ‘We can use this area to meet post-pandemic demands.

‘It’s a difficult time for everyone and we hope we can help through the Laudato Si garden.’

Marian explained: ‘Laudato Si is the name of Pope Francis’s document, issued in 2015, that’s a roadmap to help us care for our common home.

‘After Cop 26 in Glasgow last November Bishop Brian McGee, bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, suggested we all work to create Laudato Si parishes that in some way care for the environment and try to halt the climate crisis. St Margaret’s aims to become a Laudato Si parish.’

Marian added that because children and young people are most committed to conserving the environment, they would be encouraged to develop the garden in what they think is the best way possible.

Karen McCurry from the MS Centre said: ‘This is a great idea, and we thank St Margaret’s for thinking of us. Our aim is to make sure the community uses surplus food and nothing is binned.’

Parish priest Fr Henry Nkop said: ‘This is a win-win situation. The environment benefits and so does the community.’