Linlithgow award winner keeps growing in the ‘farmily’

The Westport Vets Local Hero award winner for Linlithgow in July was Iain Withers from Narrowboat Farm, for helping people grow vegetables during the Covid-19 lockdown.

By Kevin Quinn
Friday, 7th August 2020, 12:31 pm
Westport Vets Local Hero Award for Linlithgow July 2020 is Iain Withers from Narrowboat Farm. Iain is pictured with his dog Twizzle.

At the start of lockdown Iain set up ‘Linlithgow Farmily’, a group focused on helping people grow their own fruit and vegetables. Iain and fellow volunteers sourced and delivered compost, seeds and plants to enable people to set-up their veg patches, and there are now hundreds of ‘mini-farms’ in Linlithgow as a result.

Commenting on the Linlithgow Farmily Facebook page, Iain said: “Farmily says exactly what we are about – one big family of mini farms adding up to something far bigger and better.

“We help each out as an extended family would, enjoying our successes together and helping each other through failures. Growing food together through Covid and beyond.

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“By default we grow everything naturally, without chemicals, and to certain tried and tested techniques which we’ll recommend.

“However, we are not precious about how you go about your growing and you may wish to use alternatives.

“Indeed we will point you towards alternative ideas as we go if you wish to change things.

“There is no right and wrong and part of the fun is experimenting.”

Locals have also been interacting and helping each other out through the ‘Linlithgow Farmily’ group; sharing stories, tips, advice and even posting about their funny vegetable mishaps. On July 25, a stall was set-up in the High Street where the group provided 171 vegetable growing starter packs free to locals.

Thanks to support from the Strengthening Communities Fund (the Linlithgow Covid-19 Community Response), the Grow-Your-Own packs have been made available to Linlithgow residents for free.

Helen Wallace, who has been shielding, is one of the locals who has benefited from Linlithgow Farmily. She said: “The group has made me feel part of something positive and enabled me to help others even though I was stuck at home for three months.

“My children and so many others in the town have learned so much from growing their own vegetables.”

Another local who benefitted, Shona Cavanagh, commented: “The magic of homegrown vegetables. My three-year-old who is a very fussy eater has now been eating carrots, peas and lettuce! ”

Westport Veterinary Clinic’s Local Hero Awards were created to recognise and honour acts of kindness in our local community.

A Westport spokesperson said: “The tone of the group, which has been set by Iain, is so friendly and inclusive and it has helped so many people in so many ways beyond the initial aims of the group.

“Their Facebook page shows posts from so many Farmily members telling how the group has helped keep feelings of isolation at bay, how it’s a safe and friendly haven in an exceptionally unsettling time, and how their new found love of gardening has been an important part of keeping their mental health in check.”