Dundee’s annual Flower and Food Festival is a big event in the calendar for our Tayside and Grampian team. This year was extra special, being the show’s 30th anniversary. Held in Camperdown Park, the festival provides something for everyone, from school children to serious gardeners, foodies and culture vultures.
For local officer Sandra Penman the event was an opportunity to meet and talk to a wide audience about the importance of protecting biodiversity, particularly pollinators. There was quite a bit of planning involved for Sandra who had organised all the activities and put together a display including leaflets, piles of deadwood and pollinator friendly potted plants.
SNH staff who manned the stall all weekend were joined by partners from other environmental organisations. The Winter Woodland display in the marquee won the top award in its section, with positive feedback from the Britain in Bloom judges on its environmental theme and message — to get outdoors and enjoy nature during winter.
Our focus on pollinators was well received with many people stopping to watch the super ‘Bee’ movie in our woodland den. Friday was a very busy start with lots of school children getting free access to the show and rushing in to look for stamps on their Pollinator Passports. Sandra horrified many children (and adults too) when she told them that without pollinators we would have no chocolate to eat!
We were joined by some pollinator experts over the weekend, including our own Jim Jeffrey and Athayde Tonhasca, who diligently answered all the difficult questions and talked people through the various ways they can do more for Pollinators. This includes; encouraging people to make space for pollinator friendly plants such as lavender, cyclamen and primroses; leaving some ‘wild’ areas for hibernation and shelter; trying to have something in bloom throughout the seasons; less grass cutting when the early dandelions are out; and of course reducing pesticide use in the garden.
Special thanks to our Scotland’s Natural Larder colleagues who cooked up a storm over the weekend and shared information about sustainable, nutritious food. They also made sure to run along to our stand with delicious venison stovie tasters for staff. The team are now looking forward, with relish, to making some weed burgers with a recipe from the Student Survival Guide, which is equally suitable for non-students who are looking to eat well on a budget. The team enjoyed a wonderful day connecting people and nature and are very much looking forward to the 31st festival next summer.