THE Concorde Centre in Dumbarton played host last weekend to the biggest and best ever 'Growing West Dunbartonshire' event.

Kevin Mason, Project Development Manager of The Leamy Foundation, said: "We had a great morning, with the number of groups up 20 from last year. It was also the first time we had a number of our local schools attend including Knoxland Primary School, Levenvale PS, and Auchnacraig ELCC. Children's Hour Nursery from Hardgate attended for the second year running.

"There was lots of networking, chat, a little local produce, salsa using tomatos grown in Faifley and local jam and honey from Lomond Community Allotments Association.

"Plastic Free WD were also in attendance promoting ways we can all reduce our use of plastic. Groups were able to meet for the first time.

"It was fantastic to have some of our local schools present. Residents from Faifley Community Allotment Association spent the morning chatting and sharing ideas with their neighbours in Auchnacraig Nursery. It was a fantastic way to increase contacts between our local community groups and schools, increasing confidence, knowledge using growing spaces to grow fruit and veg in our schools."

Over 110 people turned out for this years Spring event, with 26 groups representing local community garden and allotment groups from across West Dunbartonshire. Among the groups were The Blue Triangle projects from Clydebank, Bonhill and Alexandria, CHAS Balloch. and for the first time Beekeepers from West Dunbartonshire were present via the Lomond Community Allotments Association.

Throughout the day there were groups from Dalmuir, Old Kilpatrick, Faifley, Bellsmyre, Alexandria, Bonhill, Clydebank, Hardgate, Haldane, Balloch and visitors from groups in Glasgow.

Mr Mason went on: "It was a celebration of community gardening and allotments in West Dunbartonshire to promote West Dunbartonshire’s outstanding Community Food Growing and garden groups and Establish partnerships and to increase the number of our residents growing fruit veg and using our green spaces as positive resources in our community.

" Exhibitors and people present were able to provide and share information, skills, seeds and plants. they also helped people to set up their own community food growing or garden projects.

"We held our first Schools Environmental science project with schools presenting their food waste carbon footprint impact and food waste reduction recommendations. Auchnacraig Nursery, Knoxland PS and Levenvale PS won a prize for a school orchard comprising a dozen fruit trees, apples, plum and pear. In 2019 the Spring event, will have 12 schools participating along with the numerous community groups.

'' Our participating schools demonstrated how food waste can be reduced with a little effort by making small changes, planning meals, creating shopping lists, using and freezing left overs, know your 'use by' dates.

"In a small, one day trial, Knoxland PS reduced their food waste by 50 % by increasing pupil awareness of the impact and cost of food waste. Levenvale PS reduced food waste going to landfill by composting veg waste. Both schools estimated a cost of food waste across pupils households of £140K per year. So lots of room for improvement."

Among the exhits were herbs, fruit, veg, local produce , salsa using locally grown tomatoes. The herbs included, rosemary, parsley, basil and chives, and chutney from locally grown veg and local jam. There was also kitchen garden displays with small herb gardens for kitchens.

Mr Mason added:"The standard of stalls and display was the best since the first event in 2016. This is the third time we have held such an event.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP was in attendance to open the event.