What did PEDAL do last year?

As you may have heard, PEDAL didn’t get funding for the projects we hoped to run this coming year, but we thought you’d like to know what we have achieved over the past year!

In an action packed year to 31st March, PEDAL helped Portobello save an estimated 175 tonnes CO2e and involved a total of 893 local people in one or more of our six food-related projects, four energy projects, or other activities.

74 people took part in one of ten Dig In Porty! courses we ran. These covering topics from growing vegetables (3 courses) to cooking with scraps, making pickles, making bread, eating seasonal produce, pruning fruit trees, and mushroom growing.

Portobello Organic Market in Brighton Park has become a regular part of Porty life. Five trial markets were held selling locally-produced and organic food, drink, arts & crafts, and the market now set to continue into the future as a self-sustaining enterprise.  Our customer survey showed at least 300 households shop there every month, each buying on average a quarter of that week’s shopping from the 34 established and 16 start-up traders who have had stalls to-date.  27% of customers at the market have increased the amount of organic produce in their weekly shop, and 77% would like to see more organic and local produce stocked in local shops.

As part of our Insulation Hotspot Campaign, run in partnership with Energy Saving Scotland advice centre, 297 people completed Home Energy Checks and 30 homes installed loft and/or cavity wall insulation.  A further 20 households in local tenements had home energy advice visits and five tenements had their shared lofts insulated through Portobello Warm Tenements Scheme. We have now published a booklet giving energy saving advice for residents of houses both old and new.

By promoting Edinburgh Garden Share Scheme locally, PEDAL helped 5 garden owners and 7 volunteer gardeners get together to use private gardens for growing fruit and veg. They are now cultivating a total of 327m2 of land.  The scheme was run in partnership with Care & Repair Edinburgh.

More food could also be grown in future on some of the five viable small sites and/or three larger sites that were identified through Portobello Community Farm feasibility study. A template community farm business plan was also produced, and can be adjusted for any large-scale site.

291 organic fruit trees have been planted in 82 gardens throughout Portobello as part of Fruitful Porty.  This adds to the 90 apples, pears, plums, cherries, plus blackcurrants, gooseberries and a fig tree that are now planted or due to be planted soon at Donkeyfield Community Orchard. We held three fun celebrations plus monthly workdays at the orchard, and 83 school children have learnt about where fruit comes from, how to grow fruit, and make apple juice.  They have also made ceramic labels for the trees at the orchard. Once the trees begin to bear fruit, in 2014, Portobello will have 1,944 kg of fruit to use or distribute each year!

Our Solar Porty Scheme identified 98 households who were interested in finding out whether solar hot water panels would work for their home.  Nine households were surveyed for their suitability and 10 more are awaiting surveys.  400 people completed Water Efficiency Checks and 20 took part in water saving training delivered by Energy Saving Scotland advice centre.

Our plans for a community owned wind turbine hit a big stumbling block when we found out that the project couldn’t work at the site we were looking at for health and safety reasons. However, our new consultants are exploring the potential for a large wind turbine at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works and so far the studies look very promising. This ambitious project will continue to develop over the coming year.

We also gave out 43 Kitchen Canny kits to help people reduce their food waste, held an Energy Fair and a Gardening & Growing Fair (each with over 120 people attending), and gave talks to local schools and churches plus Transition groups in other communities.

We recently submitted a funding bid to Heritage Lottery Fund for Portobello, Plot to Plate, a local food heritage project that will be delivered in partnership with Portobello Heritage Trust. This will identify, record and make available oral history, documents and artefacts relating to food production and shopping in and around Portobello since 1900.

We hope you’ll agree it’s been a busy and productive year for PEDAL, and we will do what we can to pursue sustainability projects on behalf of Portobello in 2011-12.

We’d like to give a huge thanks to the staff team and all our volunteers who put in countless hours to make the above things happen!

With very best wishes,

All at PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town


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