A number of sites in Barrhead and Neilston have been identified by the council as potential new areas for community planting including a disused bowling green.

In total ten local authority-owned sites in East Renfrewshire have been pinpointed as possible locations for additional community growing spaces as part of the council’s Food Growing Strategy, which is now out for public consultation.

The document sets out a range of ways to support residents to adopt a more sustainable approach to food, and with just two allotments in the area, including one in Giffnock and one in Barrhead, the council says current demand outstrips the availability of plots.

The potential areas identified include establishing community growing at Cowan Park Bowling Club, Neilston lock-ups, Rouken Glen walled garden and land adjacent to Arthurlie Family Centre.

It also suggests expanding the existing growing area at Barrhead Water Works; creating new allotments at Capelrig open space and Glennifer View field; repurposing derelict land at Hurlet Depot; developing an orchard within Busby Glen; and developing a therapeutic area at Eastwood Health and Care Centre.

Councillor Danny Devlin, convener for housing and environment, told the Barrhead News: “I’m pleased to see this strategy coming forward, as interest in food growing has increased rapidly over the last few years.

“More people than ever want to be able to plant, pick and plate their own food, so it’s important we put plans in place to support more people to be able to do this within their own communities.”

As well as identifying potential new sites, the draft Food Growing Strategy sets out how the council will support groups who want to start food growing or expand existing enterprises.

The strategy was developed in collaboration with food growing groups from across East Renfrewshire, with representatives from the two allotment associations, the food growing activists Incredible Edible based in Neilston, Green Guardians at Woodfarm Community Centre and Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire all part of the working group.

“Food growing develops individual confidence and community cohesion, supports healthy and sustainable lifestyles, reduces carbon emissions and enhances biodiversity,” added Cllr Devlin.

“The objective of this strategy is to ensure that food growing in East Renfrewshire can maximise these benefits for our residents.”

It is intended the finalised Food Growing Strategy will be adopted in late 2023.

The public consultation can be viewed at https://erldp.commonplace.is.