Soil Matters: Andrew Raven Trust Weekend 14 – 16th June 2019

By Amanda Raven |

Trustees and guests visit Lochaline Community Allotments as guests of Bob Brown and Lesley Jones (pictured centre). Photo: Amanda Raven.
Trustees and guests visit Lochaline Community Allotments as guests of Bob Brown and Lesley Jones (pictured centre). Photo: Amanda Raven.

Soil matters: whether you are a gardener, farmer, builder or potter – the soil – its history and chemistry will shape what you do. We were lucky to hear many, informed perspectives on this at the recent Andrew Raven Trust weekend. One presentation from Craig Sams (pictured far left), co-founder and Executive Chairman of Carbon Gold Ltd, a carbon sequestration business based on the use of biochar as a soil improver got us thinking hard about peat use and peat restoration. You can read his blog about his weekend visit here.

The peat theme was picked up throughout the weekend such as when we heard from Glasgow artist Hannah Imlach about the peat restoration project at Forsinard being run by the RSPB. An exhibition on that project can be seen at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh this summer. During the Saturday afternoon, Morvern local consultant ecologist, Alasdair Firth, together with Ardtornish team members Dennis Overton and Alan Kennedy led a walk to see a local Morvern peat restoration project on the Estate that Alasdair has been advising on.

There was a lot of knowledge in the room but most importantly it was knowledge being shared openly by busy people with the hope of achieving greater positive impact on the management of Scotland’s soils on whose health all of society depends. Our visit to the Lochaline allotments illustrated what can been achieved by a combination of hard graft (the allotment soils sit above the sand mine and were thin and poor before the hard work of improvement began) and shared resources.

As the urgency of climate change impacts continues to move up the UK political and social agenda, Morvern, once again, showed the Trust how much is possible when people work together to achieve real and lasting change.

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