ADA Stewart hardly knew her neighbours before lockdown.

A bag of tatties on her doorstep changed all that.

“It has been amazing – such a lovely, warm project to be part of,” explains the university lecturer.

“Something so simple and yet so meaningful, which has made us all feel connected to each other.”

Ada, husband Martin and their twins Gemma and Mark have spent this strangest of summers taking part in An Empty Gunny Bag Cannot Stand, an ingenious food-growing project dreamt up by Angus Farquhar and Rudy Kanhye of Aproxima Arts.

It culminated in a fantastic harvest event, featuring music and performance by Mischief-La-Bas, and free chips.

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Supported by the Glasgow Times Streets Ahead campaign, which encourages neighbours to work together to improve their communities for the benefit of all, the initiative was originally intended to take place in a community garden.

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Aproxima Arts director Angus Farquhar describes Kelvinhaugh and Kelvindale as “a little forgotten corner” of Glasgow, sandwiched between a busy expressway and two railway lines, less well-known than its trendy neighbour Finnieston.

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“Rudy and I came up with the idea of dotting brightly coloured hessian bags, or gunny bags, around the site, in which people could grow their own potatoes,” says Angus. “Then, we’d harvest them, and get together to cook and eat.”

When lockdown put a halt to the original plan to bring the people to the project, Angus rallied support from his family, friends and neighbours to take the project – and the potatoes – to the people.

Almost everyone in Angus’s street took a bag, plus many more in Kelvinhaugh, Possil and surrounding.

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The finale, staged in the space which Angus hopes will eventually become a much-loved community garden, was spectacular. A Streets Ahead grant of £1200, plus £500 in funding from the Herald and Times Staff Benevolent Fund, which allocates grants to charities in the Glasgow area, helped Aproxima Arts get their project off the ground.

He said: “It was fantastic. We are very grateful to the Glasgow Times Streets Ahead campaign and to the Herald and Times Staff Benevolent Fund for supporting us.”

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Ada Stewart adds: “This project has been a light of sunshine in months of uncertainty. The team’s determination and hard work to make this happen is a great inspiration for us and the kids.

“I got to know so many more of my neighbours because we’d be out chatting to each other – not just about potatoes, but about our lives and work and children, sharing recipes, talking about gardening – it really was wonderful.”

She smiles: “And the chips tasted amazing.”

Glasgow Times:

Bringing people together in communities across Glasgow is what our Streets Ahead campaign is all about. The initiative has been supporting projects across the city for nine years, backed by our generous partners Glasgow City Council, City Building, CGI and the City Charitable Trust.

City life is very different for all of us in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and many community events and projects have been cancelled.

In a typically Glaswegian way, however, communities are rallying together in these strange and unsettling times, finding new ways to support each other.

Tell us what you are doing to help your community and let us know how we can help spread the word or rally support for you.