Cyrenians thresh their way to better food

Andrew Whitley and Scott Callender from Scotland the Bread alongside Midlothian Community Hospital Garden volunteers Jane Gale and Ian Gilchrist. Image credit Cyrenians

Edinburgh-based homelessness charity Cyrenians hosted a number of local growers at its threshing event at Midlothian Community Hospital Gardens yesterday.

The charity, which is currently marking its 50th year, was joined by Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, Granton Community Gardeners and Ochil Tower School (Perthshire) to thresh locally grown wheat and celebrate local growing.

Cyrenians garden coordinator, Michala Bradshaw, said: “This is the first year we’ve taken part in growing heritage variety grain here at Midlothian Community Hospital Gardens.

“The ‘Soil to Slice’ project, conceived and supported by Scotland the Bread, aims to encourage local growers to rethink the way we use local growing spaces and help communities best utilise this resource.

“On 5th May, our volunteers helped us sow two varieties of Swedish ‘evolutionary wheat’, developed over many years to be very diverse genetically.

“We had a remarkably successful growth and harvested the wheat on 28th August. Next steps are to mill the grain and, in the New Year, bake our very own Cyrenians bread! As part of the Soil to Slice project, we’ll be sharing the results of the threshing which will help build the evidence for the benefits of nutrient-dense grains, grown in community gardens.”

Andrew Whitley, co-founder of Bread for Good Community Benefit Society, which trades as Scotland the Bread, said: “Growing thoughtfully selected varieties of staple foods without chemicals in local plots is a small but powerful way to begin to deal with Scotland’s big problem of diet-related physical and mental ill-health. Doing it in a hospital garden joins all the dots and we look forward to hearing how the bread made with these precious grains goes down.”

To find out more about the Midlothian Community Hospital Garden please visit:

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