GREEN-FINGERED primary pupils rubbed shoulders with environmentalists at Dumbarton’s Concorde Centre for the “biggest ever” Growing West Dunbartonshire event.

Kevin Mason, project development manager of the Leamy Foundation, said more than 110 people turned out, including 26 community garden and allotment groups from across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven.

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.

Local schools in attendance included Knoxland Primary School, Levenvale PS, and Auchnacraig ELCC. Children’s Hour Nursery from Hardgate.

Kevin said: “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.”

Kevin said the event sought to increase the number of our residents growing fruit veg.

He added: “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.”

Among the prize winners was Auchnacraig Nursery in Faifley, which, along with two Dumbarton primary schools, won a prize of a school orchard comprising a dozen apple, plum and pear trees.

“In 2019 the spring event, will have 12 schools participating along with the numerous community groups.

Kevin added: “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, one school reduced their food waste by 50 per cent by increasing pupil awareness of the impact and cost of food waste. Another reduced food waste going to landfill by composting veg waste. Both estimated a cost of food waste across pupils households of £140,000 per year. So lots of room for improvement.”

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