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Pure passion for food equality

The Sustainable Thinking Scotland Foodbank Farm

It all started when a couple of guys working for a large supermarket were involved in delivering the supermarket’s donations to the food banks in and around Falkirk.

“The donations are all very well, and the food banks rely on them, but we noticed the quality could be variable and often it was not the very freshest produce being donated,” explains Steve McQueen, one of the co-founders of Sustainable Thinking Scotland, which is now in its third year.

“We wanted to be able to provide the food bank services with the very best fresh organic food, grown locally and delivered as soon as it’s picked.”

It’s a wonderful initiative. For families finding themselves going through a period of food poverty, life is tough enough and necessarily, foodbanks have to operate using primarily tinned and packaged food so the dietary options available to people using the service can be limited.

“We wanted to be able to provide the food bank services with the very best fresh organic food, grown locally and delivered as soon as it’s picked.”

So Steve and his colleague Sean Kerr set about finding a premises, rolled up their sleeves and got to work. The premises is the historic walled garden of Kinneil House, Bo’ness. Most recently used as a plant nursery by Falkirk Council for growing flowers for the local roundabouts and planters, the huge walled garden is currently unused apart from the Sustainable Thinking Scotland Foodbank Farm.

Steve and Sean are gradually clearing it and developing their farm, complete with a composting and a biochar zone. Biochar is form of carbon they are creating onsite, recycling timber into something which can be used as a soil additive to help increase crop yield. “I’m the grafter, Sean’s the scientist!” says Steve.

They have made a weekly donation to the food banks, soup kitchens and food larders for two growing seasons now, as well as running a busy programme of workshops with schools and community groups. “Neither of us had a lot of experience in horticulture but we’re learning fast!” Recipe ideas are included with their fresh produce, which is picked on the morning that it is delivered to the food banks, who then get it out to recipients same-day.

“We’d ultimately like this to be rolled out elsewhere so that all food bank recipients can benefit from the best fresh local produce.” It’s ambitious, it’s impressive and they have big plans in the pipeline. They are currently unfunded and are demonstrating a huge amount of creativity and hard work to deliver that they do.

It’s pure passion for food equality.


Can you help?

Volunteers are needed to join the team at the walled garden to help with all aspects of the project – maintaining the polytunnels, building raised beds, planting and more.

Donations of equipment, soil and anything to do with growing fruit and vegetables is always welcome.

For more information or if you’d like to get involved in any way, please contact them via the facebook page or email

Sustainable Thinking Scotland is a Community Interest Company highlighting alternative ways to rebalance economic, environmental and social values in modern society, ensuring that all members of our community are offered support and opportunities to live a happy, healthy life.


Article published in Konect October 2019

Author: Helen-Jane Shearer


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