RESIDENTS are enjoying tucking into local produce thanks to green-fingered volunteers and a thriving community growing project.

Incredible Edible Neilston is part of a network of more than 100 similar groups across the UK and was founded by Cat Train.

Since June, the group has grown to around 10 people, each willing to give up their time to promote the initiative and transform the planter on Kirkstyle Lane into beds brimming with seasonal herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Anyone can head along to pick and take home what they fancy, which in recent times has included varied produce such as leeks, spinach, mint, parsley, thyme, chamomile and even some oriental greens such as “Purple Frills”, a leaf with a mustard-like flavour.

Mum-of-three Cat told the Barrhead News: “The planter had kind of been a wasteland for the last few years, so it’s been really nice to see it become a place where people stop and talk, and seeing their reaction when they realise they can just go in and pick something like a cabbage and take it home and cook it.

“The kale in particular is really worth trying. In the shops it is pretty bland and there is nothing like it, but the stuff from the planter is really sweet, you can try it raw. I think it’s because of the soil we have.

“My children love it. They have been up helping planting and we go up quite a lot to grab bits and bobs for dinner.”

The group has not secured any funding yet and everything produced so far has been thanks to donations of items such as soil and seeds from people in the village.

The majority of those involved are “learning as they go” and not everybody is into gardening, with some helping to promote the project online or making signs.

Growing food, however, is just one part of what the group hope to achieve.

Along with meet ups, open to all, every Sunday at 2pm for weeding, planting, picking and a chat, in September they held a harvest festival.

For this they teamed up with Louisa McKay, from Totnosh, who runs local cookery classes, and she cooked up pots of soup with ingredients from the planter.

“We gave out the soup with the recipe because if you don’t know how to cook the stuff or have an idea of what to do with it then you are not going to access it,” Cat added. 

“Eventually we want to bring in some cookery lessons to show folk what they can do with what we are growing.

“The idea is also eventually to see if we can get the schools involved with the growing and the planting.”