By Fergus Walker
This was our last day, and quite an eventful one!
As we headed into Aberdeen, we were accompanied by a gale force wind. Our destination was the Tillydrone Community Gala, just north of Old Aberdeen. As we set up our tent, we had to try three times before we could put it up – each time we were almost there a huge gust of wind would come and dismantle it! But we had faith in our trusty tent, and once it was pegged down it stayed put. We witnessed several gazebos taking off that day, but it didn’t seem to dampen people’s spirits. There were all sorts of stalls, art activities, bouncy castle, a drumming crew, football matches, and horse riding.
We were joined in the tent by local storyteller Pauline Cordiner, who has a great interest in archaeology. Dressed in iron age costume, she came complete with a 500 and 3000 year old quern stone – so that, with the Bike Mill, we had the full story of human powered flour production. She had lots of stories that drew together past and present, and enchanted the listeners.
We had a great donation of seeds from Suzy from Tilly Community Flat (the co-ordinator of the gala) – Broccoli, Kale, Angelica, Honesty, Aquilegia.
We were joined also by Andy Devine from Aberdeen Forward. He works with ex-offenders, building raised beds, gardening and composting – I very much admire his energy and tenacity to provide a good job and a chance to learn valuable skills to people who lead tough lives. So it felt good to be able to hand over a big bag of seeds and a box of plants that will get used in a new community garden at St Fitticks in Torry. Torry was incidentally the place that my grandfather, Alec Walker, grew up, so the story has a nice serendipity to it.
So, it was quite a week! What a lot of inspiring and interesting people, and what a lot of struggles, and successes. We thank you all for great hospitality, inspiration, and good times, and wish you all the best of luck, and hope to meet you all again soon!
THE SEEDS OF A BETTER FOOD SYSTEM
This is a photograph of all of the seeds donated to us in our tour across Scotland. We received self-saved seeds at each location we visited, sometimes from several different people – and at one location we were even given the seeds for a brand new variety developed at Culbokie in the Black Isle – Agric’s Black Flowered Broad Beans. This gives me hope for the future of Scotland’s food production. Let’s get some heads together and make this Scottish Seed Saving Network official!