Who are The Allotment Market Stall (TAMS) and what do you do?
TAMS collects excess produce from Allotments across Aberdeen every week in the growing season and sells it in four market stalls across the city. Our Mission is to reduce waste, reduce food miles and make great produce available at affordable prices.
Our Vision is to connect people with where their food comes from and with each and their communities. TAMS depends very much on the work of volunteers and encourages volunteering in all aspects of the organisation.
What started as a 5 week pilot scheme in 2013 in Aberdeen's Castlegate has developed every year since. In 2021 we ran 4 stalls each week for 12 weeks. The stalls ran on Fridays at Seaton Park , Duthie Park and Victoria Park and on Saturdays at Bonnymuir Green.
What does sustainable food mean to you and your organisation?
Sustainable food aims to avoid damaging or wasting natural resources. It also minimises its contribution to climate change throughout the whole production process, including reducing food miles. Locally sourced food is much healthier because fewer nutrients have been lost during the transport needed for large supermarkets. Although we can't claim to sell organic produce the new growing space at Hazlehead will be run on organic soil association principles and most allotment holders do not like to use chemicals for their growing.
How do you, as an organisation, build a sustainable food system?
We have a network of local allotment growers big and small who enjoy growing produce. When the food is in season often they have much more than they can consume and TAMS take that produce and sell it directly to the community.
We are a not for profit organisation. Any profit from the stalls is either given back to the growers to keep up the good work or to help run our market stalls. The 2021 dividends have been put to good use on the allotment sites. Most spent their dividend on various forms of fertiliser and
soil enhancers and for general upkeep of the communal areas. Some bought seeds, plants, small tools and other gardening equipment for everyone on the site to use. Others passed on their
dividend to local community growing projects or gave a welcome gift of fertiliser, seeds and plants to new plotters.
Why be involved in Granite City Good Food?
TAMS is pleased to be invlved in Granite City Good Food as a core partner. We agree with the aims of Granite City Good Food that Aberdeen should have access to healthy, tasty, affordable food and that this food should also be good for the environment and our local economy. We believe that TAMS contributes to these aims by offering Aberdeen citizens the opportunity to eat healthy allotment locally grown produce.
How do we achieve a sustainable Good Food movement in Aberdeen?
We can achieve a sustainable Good Food movement in Aberdeen by continuing to work in partnership together and sharing knowledge, skills, expertise and resources. There are many good examples of this e.g. Aberdeen City Council allocated TAMS Growing Space at Grove Nursery which has ran very successfully for two years. In 2021, TAMS was delighted to be
allocated a new growing space in addition to the two raised beds at Grove Nursery. TAMS new
growing space measures nearly 30m X 100m. This partnership with Aberdeen City Council will allow TAMS to expand the opportunities for volunteering and increase the amount of produce available to sell on the Market Stalls.
What potential barriers do you see to a sustainable food system in Aberdeen?
Potential barriers could include the lack of funding, partnership difficulties, changes in staffing - consistency is important, or a change in political support
Thank you for your answers!