It’s been a challenging process, but Kat and I with the help of the university Health & Safety group have carried out risk assessments and identified suitable insurance certificates to enable volunteer input to The Lions Gate Project.
We’ve also drawn up a Volunteer Policy – with associated forms (consent for use of media, induction checklist and registration document), as well as an evaluation form to gather data on visitor and volunteer experiences of The Lions Gate Project. Thanks to the Research and Innovation Office for supplying an evaluation template that we rejigged for our purposes.
Today, we have three volunteers, Fabien, Lucie and Gabrielle visiting to test the process and help us refine it. Gabrielle and Lucie are kick-starting a similar project at The University of Edinburgh’s Kings Buildings.
Cablecom Electrics have started installing power and data points for us in The Lions Gate and our Keder poly tunnel on the rooftop allotment, enabling the interactive layer of our design to start taking shape.
Guys from Garden Solutions in East Lothian delivered soils, composts, sand, vermiculite, and gravel to the Keder greenhouse today, so we have all we need to start growing. We have two tonnes of mushroom-spent compost and a tonne of horse manure coming next month.
I marked out a meandering, wheelchair accessible path in the Lions gate today for the Estates department to get a quote for the work. The plan is to lay an ochre-coloured hoggin path, edged with wood that will wind its way along the garden from reception area, through food forest, over the entertainment space and up to the ‘digital bothy’. We hope to have it in place by the end of March.
Our 6m x 3m Keder polytunnel/greenhouse was erected today. The guys have travelled up from Evesham in the Cotswolds and worked their socks off, so it was assembled in under six hours on our rooftop kitchen allotment, round the back of the kitchen’s at Merchiston.
I had visited the Keder stall during our interactive permaculture exhibit at Scotland’s Garden Festival back in June 2017 and was impressed by its design and the way that its bubblewrap-esque material was able to take what light is available and scatter more of it interiorly. The kitchen allotment site has a challenging amount of sunlight so it’s good fit. A considerable amount of food and herbs can be grown in here for student, staff and visitor stomachs. Here begins our circular food economy, scope for medicinal growing, and much research too.
I’m working with three groups of students from the School of Computing 3rd year group project module this year. I have two groups looking into hyper-local WI-FI networks so that we can offer up bespoke immersive experiences in both garden sites at Merchiston. Thanks to Stuart Toland (Information Services) for lending a hand. The other group is designing a garden web-app.
Delighted to have employed Kat Dunlop (the harmonious gardener), to kick-start the growing process and run volunteer sessions and events. Kat has tons of gardening experience, especially in working with volunteer groups. She’ll also be drawing up volunteer policies, helping with risk assessments, health and safety, research and other administrative tasks. Welcome aboard Kat!