Green Initiatives

There are lots of people passionate about climate action and

 

sustainable living …

… and many exciting and meaningful initiatives going on in DG8!

… with lots of impetus and scope for even more good things to happen!

 

 

Here we are highlighting some of the great work that’s going on, whether it is directly linked to us or not, and we just think that it should be celebrated. MAC-CAN is here to support and partner with any community group or organisation that matches the values and vision of our Constitution and that wants to work together for a better future.  

 

Here you’ll find examples of good things going on in our local area; please get in touch with us if you’d like yours to have a mention here too. You will find more groups and organisations doing good things on or ‘Volunteer Opportunities’ page, that are on the look out for extra help. 

save energy, energy saving, sustainability-7382275.jpg

South Machars Crop Swaps

In early 2024 the group received funding from the D&G Climate Hub to help expand and promote these community activities.

A Bit of Background

Article that was written for the third issue of the Machars Observer, local paper (Nov/Dec 2022 edition) 

 

 

“Swapping is better than Shopping”

 

 

Sheralyn moved to Whithorn from southern England a couple of years ago and got stuck in to community activities straight away. Lucy moved up from North Yorkshire just a bit before that and also comes from a background of volunteering and community events. Both women are interested in food growing, foraging and preserving as well as minimising waste of any kind, so it was a natural thing for them to come together, Sheralyn started the Produce and Plant Shares (aka Crop Swaps) in Whithorn in Summer of 2021 and Lucy was soon on board!

 

There were 4 swap events held, all in Whithorn, that year and they were welcomed by lots of people from the local community – as well as beyond. Several people came along to them from as far away as Newton Stewart and the Galloway Forest. 

 

In 2022, especially following the lifting of all COVID restrictions, there was scope to explore the area , extending the swaps out of Whithorn in to more communities. So, this year we will have held a total of 10 events in Whithorn, Newton Stewart and Wigtown in different venues, sometimes in addition to other events like the Ukrainian Fundraiser in Sorbie. They also started earlier in the year (late February) with more focus on sharing seeds then at the start of the season. For October, the swap is part of the Apple Day celebrations at Glen Trool Hive and November will probably be the last swap of the year – somewhere cosy! 

Not only are they an opportunity to share and swap all kinds of things related to food and growing, like excess home grown produce, seeds, plants. gardening tools, jam jars, horticultural or cooking books, home baking, eggs, plant pots, home made preserves etc. they are a really great opportunity to share knowledge and skills with others who share similar interests. They are also a lovely way to meet people and get to know others in the community; since the start of the monthly swaps, many new friendships and connections have been made and a small group of regular attendees come along to every swap. 


It would be great for such swapping opportunities to happen across the area and we hope that by holding events in different places, local people will take on board the idea for their own communities. Swaps don’t have to be complicated to organise and can be as informal as you like; just get in touch with us if you’d like any advice to set one up in your own area.  


New swappers are always welcome and we are already looking forward to swaps in 2023! Just bring something along to share as it’s only fair to bring something if you’re intending on taking something. Another great thing is that these are money-free events and all swaps are done at the discretion of the attendees – so you could bring along some spare packets of seeds and empty egg boxes and go home with a bag of potatoes and a houseplant! 

We have a Facebook group: South Machars Crop Swaps if you would like to join in – swaps often happen within this group too, online, as well as a place to discuss the monthly in-person events. 

 

@southmacharscropswap

How does it work and why do it?

Below is an interview with Lucy at The Croft to explain a bit more about this initiative.  

What exactly happens during crop swaps?

People will bring their excess plants or seeds and depending on the venue they may place their swaps on tables or even an open space on the ground. People will then look at what everyone has too swap. Deals will be made, and swaps will take place. Discussions and conversations will often take place and it can be quite the social event. Discussions can be personal as often familiar faces will be seen and relationships develop, or they may be based on gardening tips and advice or even sharing recipes.


Why do you think it is important for people to come together in this way?

These events are important in several ways including:

  • Social time – meeting new people with similar interests and a shared passion / experience
  • Education – knowledge shared on growing techniques and recipes. New plant knowledge can be shared that others in the area haven’t even heard before
  • Local community building – these events can often be tagged on to other events in the area leading to even more interaction and time to socialise with new people that may not have come together otherwise
How do such events help challenge climate change?
  • Its local, meaning transport impacts are far less. People will often even walk or cycle to the events
  • Food waste is lower as these are often excess and could be wasted otherwise
  • Tools may be shared, and books can be given a new lease of life reducing waste
  • Local seeds mean seeds that are more resistant and more resilient in the local area
  • Seed saving, encouraging people to seed save locally and then share these with other locals also takes a way the impact of having to buy from large companies and their associated transport costs and impacts.
Where and when are these events held in the Machars area?

These events take place roughly once a month between February and November. The early months tend to be seed swaps mainly and the later ones tend to be more plants. these take place in multiple locations and in the past have taken place in: Whithorn, Wigtown, Sorbie, Glentrool and Newton Stewart. There are plans to hold these in many locations to generate interest and encourage people in other areas to come together in this way.

 

What prompted the setup of the South Machars Crop Swaps group?

Sheralyn started them last year (2021) in early summer. It began to meet people in the area with a shared interest and to develop a community minded culture. It developed as a way of getting people involved in this sort of lifestyle. It also developed as a way to be more responsible and to lower waste.

For more feedback from swap event attendees please click on the ‘Past Swaps’ button above.

It’s also a great place to see what kind of things people have brought and exchanged – to give you ideas of what you could bring! 

We would encourage local communities to get some swap events in to their annual calendar to increase connection and reduce waste!

Galloway Apple Project

The Galloway Apple Project grew from a conversation on the pavement in Wigtown into a community group that seeks to raise awareness of heritage fruit varieties and propagate trees at risk of local extinction. With the stock raised from propagation, community orchards will be created, encouraging local fruit consumption and reducing food miles. We are not just about apples – the group will also step in to preserve other heritage fruit trees.

E-mail them: ap******************@gm***.com

 

 

Find them on Facebook

 

 

Check out their supporter’s newsletters below – if you’d like to receive this to your inbox, contact them to get on their supporter’s list! 

At the base/fruit tree nursery in Wigtown, in 2024 regular sessions started to not only care for and maintain this part of the project but also to develop a small community garden space on the plot. 

Preservation and care of community fruit trees is a great way to become a more resilient and connected population! Who can dismiss free, local, fresh food?

Isle of Whithorn Growing Space

The Darren Kelly Memorial Growing Space at the Isle of Whithorn is open to every member of the community. 

People come together to work at the garden on Tuesdays (weather permitting) 11am – pop down for a chat or to get your hands dirty with others!

Getting together to grow food with others is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy.

Whithorn Community Fridge & Pop Up Cafe

Both initiatives are located at and run by South Machars Community Centre in Whithorn (SMCC). 
Working in partnership with local supermarkets to collect surplus perishable food items to distribute to those within the South Machars area. This will assist in the reduction of perfectly good food going to landfill. We will also accept non perishable goods to support and compliment the fresh food donations.
 
Opening times:
Our regular deliveries from 3 supermarkets were made on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but from the week commencing 1st November, 2021 we will be collecting food items from the Coop on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The fridge is located within the doorway at the entrance leading to the Main Hall at the South Machars Community Centre (not main door). Access to the fridge and any non perishable goods is available 24/7, as long as there is food to take. If you find the doors closed and locked it means there is no food. 
 
This resource is for the whole community so please only take what you need. Any waste/left over food is available for anyone who can use it for compost. 
If you are in need of a bit more support because of food poverty, please speak to someone at the centre privately for assistance.
 

The Pop Up Cafe runs at the South Machars Community Centre, Whithorn every Tuesday from 9am-1.30pm and since its creation has developed into THE place to be on a Tuesday!

 

 

Pop in for a breakfast roll, light lunch or cuppa and cake, catch up with friends or meet new ones – all in the cosy Living Room.

 

The cafe is run by volunteers and all the food is lovingly made by them and often incorporates local seafood fresh from The Isle as well as locally foraged greens and fruits. Usually some ingredients used are from the Community Fridge which is a win-win for everyone. 

 

The food served varies each week and is of great quality, is affordable for all and takes into consideration different dietary requirements, with all proceeds going back to the centre. 

Food waste is a big problem within modern society, so any way of working towards reducing this and getting food to those who can use it is of great importance.
Food can always bring people and communities together as well!

Whithorn Re-Use Shop

The Re-Use Shop, also located in the South Machars Community Centre, Whithorn is a treasure trove of all kinds of pre-loved, second-hand or even new items. 

 

Open regularly on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10-2pm you can find a bargain – furniture, clothes, linens, children’s toys, books, bric-a-brac, small electrical items, household white goods etc. 

 

 

The shop is run by volunteers, and there can be arrangements made for any large items for donation or that have been purchased, to be picked up/dropped off in the Centre’s vehicle. 

Buying second-hand has never looked so good - and it's a very important way to reuse, recycle, reduce and relove items!

The Plant Farm

This is a private smallholding just outside of Whithorn, which has been developing since 2021 into a sustainable fruit and vegetable paradise, in between the rolling rural cattle fields of Galloway.  A mixture of sustainable growing methods are used, and there is plenty of experimentation with them, as well as the varieties of food plants grown. 

 

 

Any excess fresh produce is sold or bartered at the farm gate, shared at the local Community Fridge, or swapped with locals at the local Crop Swaps…. including jams and chutneys. In 2023 preserves started being sold through the Galloway Food Hub. 

 

 

To encourage and increase the sustainability of the local community, several initiatives have so far been started, including their annual Christmas tree collection. They will also help individuals who find themselves with excess plant pots etc., where they can store them and then pass them on to others. 

 

 

Food waste and composting to build healthy soils for food growing is always important here, thus the #wastelesswhithorn project  started in 2023. 

 

Although food waste is already collected from individual households, at Halloween, from the local pub’s restaurant and the South Machars Community Centre, hope is that more people and businesses will get involved. 

 

 

e-mail: th******************@gm***.com

Having access to local and sustainably produced fresh produce if you cannot grow your own is one of the best things we can work on within our communities.

Cree Valley  Woodland Volunteers 

In 2011 Cree Valley Community Woodlands Trust (as it was then called) established a local provinance tree nursery to enable it to produce its own trees for planting in areas managed by the Trust to create a network of joined areas of semi-natural broadleaved woodland down the length of the Cree Valley. 


In 2020 the nursery was taken over by Cree Woodland Volunteers, however, the purpose and work of the group remains basically the same; the aim being to ensure that native broadleaved trees are raised from locally collected seed and distributed to regeneration and re-wilding projects. The group still has charitable status, although one major difference now is the selling of some of the tree stock, to provide an income to ensure the sustainability of the work for the future. 


There are about 10 regular volunteers involved in this valuable work. They come from a variety of backgrounds and use their experience and interests to help run the nursery. One volunteer even has the role of Nursery Manager, but it’s clear that everyone involved is dedicated to the raising of trees and ensuring that native broadleaf trees are planted. 


At the moment, Wednesdays (10am-2:30pm) remains the day when the group meet to work at the nursery on a weekly basis. However, there is the possibility of volunteers helping at the nursery on any day, once they are trained up and confident in the tasks. There’s always lots to be done on site, and everyone gets stuck in with whatever needs doing that day, time of the year etc. For example, there are always general maintenance tasks like weeding, cleaning the polytunnel, checking the watering system etc. 

Whilst there is physical work to be done, the group comes together regularly outside of their Wednesday activities for social outings and often finish their ‘work’ days with coffee and tea out in nearby Newton Stewart. Routine work with the nursery stock includes seed sowing, putting cuttings into root trainers, planting out saplings, stratifying seeds etc. as well as spending time in the forest going off site as a group to collect seeds. 


The trees themselves are all grown from seed collected from the Cree Valley area, from trees that have not been planted and are native species. The seeds are used according to the National Guidance for Seed Production and the group has even supplied Kew Gardens with seeds for their Heritage Seed Bank. Seed collection activities begin with Wych Elm in May and continue through to when the Oak trees produce their acorns which are collected in autumn. There are certain woodlands that the group collects seed from every year, because those have been found to be the most productive and reliable trees, although sometimes other woodlands are chosen, for variety and genetic diversity. 


When the volunteers are out in the woods amongst the native trees, they also help to remove and reduce the spread of the planted, farmed Sitka spruce. This tree is very good at regenerating as its seeds will spread for miles, and even a fallen tree will sprout and continue to develop. On finding the small saplings, they are pulled up by hand, but of course there may be larger saplings which the group need to leave presently for the Forestry and Land Scotland to deal with due to requiring the use of a chainsaw. 

The more native habitats we have, the better the environment for wildlife and people... and the more resilient to climate changes both will be!

 Machars Abundance 

A project aiming to prevent local, fresh food waste by connecting volunteer pickers with fruit tree owners who either need help harvesting or who have excess fruit to donate; this fruit can then be given to those who can use it! 

 

Following her time helping to run an urban Abundance project back in North Yorkshire, MAC-CAN member Lucy finally got the ball rolling on her idea of a similar initiative in 2022. 

 

 

Apples have been picked and windfalls collected from a couple of places in Whithorn and Isle of Whithorn, with the fruit being distributed to individuals as well as the Community Fridge at the South Machars Community Centre. Fruit has also been used at the SMCC’s Pop Up Cafe and Fermentation Workshop (part of the November MaD Festival that year)

 

 

With increased local knowledge about this project, 2023 was a successful year and in early 2024 received funding from the D&G Climate Hub to buy more equipment and help promote the project.

Why buy seasonal fruit when we are often surrounded by excess which can be shared?

Bee Positive

This initiative takes the lead from Bug Life’s B-Lines project, but is tailor made and specific for The Machars. 

B-Lines – Buglife

 

It started life in 2023 with focus on Port William, organised by a small team of passionate people. 

 

Get in touch with them: be***********@gm***.com

 

 

Let's join together to take positive steps to help our pollinators and other wildlife in DG8 and further afield

Cree Valley Clothes Swaps 

In early 2023 MAC-CAN member Fi gathered a group of volunteers together and began organising regular clothes swapping events in Creetown and surrounding areas. 

More info coming soon!

Incredible Edible Whithorn

In early 2024 South Machars Community Centre received funding from the D&G Climate Hub to start a community garden project; since late 2023 volunteers Sheralyn and Lucy have already been using The MAC-CAN Croft’s polytunnel to grow food in over the Winter that has been used at the Pop Up cafe and other food events at the SMCC. 

 

 

All this is kick starting an Incredible Edible movement for the town and it’s hoped that more growing activities, perennial edibles, herbs and pollinator friendly plants will be making their appearance around Whithorn. 

More info coming soon!

Number 12 

In late 2023 MAC-CAN trustee Rebecca opened and began hosting a community and ‘Warm Space’ events in Port William, and the possibilities for the space are endless…. 

 

Email them here to get in touch, or get on their mailing list to be kept up to date: nu********@ou*****.com 

More info coming soon!

Climate Action Further Afield…..

… here is a useful list of links to organisations, official bodies and other initiatives that we think you should know about!

NB: some of them are out of our DG8 area

 

Please remember that any external links are not verified or endorsed by MAC-CAN. If you find any of them broken or no longer valid, please let us know so we can better keep this useful list updated. 

 

We hope that this collection of information will help people feel more informed and empowered within their own sustainability journey. 

 Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN)

SCCAN support community-led action in Scotland to address the climate and nature emergency and work for a just, thriving and resilient Scotland. 

 

Much more can be found on their website: Scottish Communities Climate Action Network & Transition Scotland Hub – & network of climate action groups (sccan.scot)

 

Check out their social media accounts!

 

One of the best ways to stay in the loop and get to hear about opportunities, events, initiatives, funding opportunities etc. is to join up (free) to their newsletter and membership – as an individual, or as a local climate action-relevant community group! 

 South West Scotland Environmental Information Centre (SWSEIC)

Formerly known as Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Resources Centre (DGERC), the South West Scotland Environmental Information Centre (SWSEIC) is the local environmental records centre covering Dumfries & Galloway and Ayrshire. The Centre aims to further the appreciation, understanding and protection of the natural environment of SW Scotland by collecting, collating, managing and safeguarding information about the natural environment and providing a focal point through which anyone may access the information. 

Galloway and Southern Ayshire Biosphere

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere (gsabiosphere.org.uk)

 

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere covers a region of over 5200sq kms of Southwest Scotland. A Biosphere is an international designation given by UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in recognition of the fantastic array of landscapes, wildlife, cultural heritage and learning opportunities that an area offers for communities, businesses and visitors to experience and celebrate. It is an incredibly special and prestigious designation, there are only 700 Biospheres in the world. Scotland has two; Galloway & Southern Ayrshire was designated on 2012.

 

Dumfries and Galloway Action on Climate Change (D&GACC)

Dumfries and Galloway Action on Climate Change – D&GACC | Facebook

 

Dumfries and Galloway Action on Climate Change (DaGACC) will work together to advise on good practice for reducing the carbon footprint of Dumfries and Galloway. We are hoping to assist with creating lower energy bills, promote social well being and healthier lifestyles and build stronger communities. We are a community organisation consisting of local residents, organisations and businesses working together to lessen our impact on the planet. DaGACC hopes to work to help people reduce their energy consumption.Together we work to promote an emerging low carbon economy, reuse and recycle household items and engage with environmental focused community projects. We will also work to learn and encourage others to devise techniques to become more sustainable in the home and in business premises. Singularly we can all make a difference and together we can create a better future.

Dumfries and Galloway Sustainable Food Partnership

Dumfries and Galloway Sustainable Food Partnership (dgsustainablefoodpartnership.org)

 

The D&G Sustainable Food Partnership brings together stakeholders and partners from across the entire region, covering Stranraer to Langholm, Sanquhar to Whithorn.

Members of the SFP represent different sectors across the food system. By working collaboratively we will bring a joined up approach to food policy, ensuring that everyone has equal access to affordable and healthy food that is good for the environment, and good for the people who produce, cook and serve it.

Scottish Environment LINK

https://www.scotlink.org/

Scottish Environment LINK is the forum for Scotland’s voluntary environment community, with over 40 member bodies representing a broad spectrum of environmental interests with the common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society.  We are a Scottish Charity (SC000296) and a Scottish Company Limited by guarantee (SC250899), core funded by Membership Subscriptions and by grants from NatureScot, Scottish Government and Charitable Trusts.

 

Propagate

Propagate Scotland Re Thinking Local Food

 

Propagate is a worker led collective specialising in local, community and sustainable food projects. We work mostly across Central and SouthWest Scotland.

Propagate works collaboratively to co-create equitable, healthy and resilient food systems.

Regenerative Farming Network South West Scotland

A network for farmers in South West Scotland 

 

 

The Regenerative Farming Network is a peer to peer knowledge exchange group offering farm walks, talks, webinars and more. For anyone just curious about regenerative farming, or for those with years of experience.

 It is open to farmers and food producers from across the region.

Dumfries and Galloway Council 

Climate Emergency – Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)

 

Community Planning – CommunityPlanning (dumgal.gov.uk)

Information and reports on how the council works with communities to make them better, for example: 

The Participation and Engagement Network is a way for members of the public, patients, carers and community groups to get involved in improving local services in Dumfries and Galloway.

Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway provides support for a Locality Hub in Wigtown. 

Scottish Government

Climate change – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

We are transitioning to a net zero emissions Scotland for the benefit of our environment, our people, and our prosperity. We also need to adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change alongside our actions to reduce emissions.

Scotland’s ambitious climate change legislation sets a target date for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. Our contribution to climate change will end, definitively, within one generation.

Sustain

Find out about sustainable food and farming in the UK | Sustain (sustainweb.org)

 

Sustain is a powerful alliance of organisations and communities working together for a better system of food, farming and fishing, and cultivating the movement for change.

Together, we advocate food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture, and promote equity.

Nourish Scotland

Nourish Scotland homepage

 

Nourish Scotland is a charity focusing on food policy and practice. We work for a fair, healthy and sustainable food system that truly values nature and people.

The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership

The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership

 

The Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership connects the people living and working in the area with its heritage and landscape. In doing so, we are working to secure a prosperous future for the communities around the Water of Ken and River Dee, right from their source to the sea.

Sustainable Scotland Network

Sustainable Scotland Network – The Sustainable Scotland Network

 

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) is Scotland’s public sector network on sustainability and climate change. We support over 600 members across public bodies in Scotland on their journey to net zero. The network supports the public sector to drive action on climate change, scaling up impact through leadership, policy and research.

Climate Change Committee

Climate Change Committee (theccc.org.uk)

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) is an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Their purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

Sustainable Food Trust

Sustainable Food Trust | A global voice for sustainable food and farming

 

The mission of the SFT is to accelerate the transition to sustainable food systems, inspired by our philosophy of the interconnectedness of the health of soil, plants, animals and people. Our vision is for future food and farming systems which nourish the health of people and planet and are equitable and accessible to all.

Sustainable Food Places Scotland 

Sustainable Food Places Scotland | Sustainable Food Places

 

Nourish Scotland is the Nation Partner for Sustainable Food Places in Scotland. 

 

Net Zero Scotland 

Home | Net Zero Nation

 

We must all play a part in tackling climate change. By making changes to how we travel, what we buy, reducing our waste and changing how we use energy at home, we can help to reach net zero emissions by 2045. Find out what actions you can take now. Scotland, let’s do net zero.

Scotland The Bread

Scotland The Bread are working towards a sustainable, fair supply of flour that better nourishes people and the planet. This revolution aims to improve the quality of a staple food for everyone: funded by our customers, members and supporters to provide flour for all. We encourage active participation by shareholders, be they farmers, millers, bakers, researchers or citizens who want to use improved grains and champion a healthier, fairer way to nourish ourselves with bread.

Fare Share

FareShare | Fighting hunger, tackling food waste in the UK

 

FareShare is the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors, made up of 18 independent organisations. Together, we take good quality surplus food from right across the food industry and get it to nearly 9,500 frontline charities and community groups.

 

The Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA)

Scottish Ecological Design Association (seda.uk.net)

 

SEDA aims to promote the design of communities, environments, projects, systems, services, materials and products which enhance the quality of life and are not harmful to living species and planetary ecology.

Seed Sovereignty

The Gaia Foundation’s Seed Sovereignty Programme is sowing a biodiverse, ecologically sustainable and resilient seed system here in the UK and Ireland. We support organically produced and open pollinated seeds, grown locally to reflect and adapt to the diverse growing conditions of the British Isles.

Sustainable Fashion Week

Sustainable Fashion Week 

 

This is an annual push for sustainable fashion within all aspects of the industry as well as for the consumer – making sustainable fashion accessible. 

Centre for Sustainable Technology

Home – Centre for Alternative Technology (cat.org.uk)

CAT is an educational charity dedicated to researching and communicating positive solutions for environmental change, based in Wales. 

Dumfries & Galloway Climate Hub

D&G Climate Hub – Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere (gsabiosphere.org.uk)

The D&G Climate Hub is hosted by The Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and is working to ‘join the dots’ between all the incredible work of DG’s amazing community groups.

Because…
To be effective, we need to get collective.

Galloway Food Hub

Galloway Food Hub

A local, producer-led, online farmers marketplace that began and is still based in Dalry, but active with producers and customers across the region.