SAGE (Sow and Grow Everywhere)

Glasgow, Various Sites

May 2009 - May 2013
  • Description
  • Sites
  • Partners

Putting food production into the heart of urban life

SAGE (Sow And Grow Everywhere) was a visionary 3 year initiative to generate a change in community food growing in the Glasgow and Clyde Valley area. A joint venture with ERZ Landscape Architects, SAGE transformed derelict and vacant land into vibrant, stimulating and visually attractive spaces for people to grow their own food. It was designed as a mobile initiative – when land is required for development, the infrastructure can move to a new site. It also established a legal route to allow access (temporary licences to occupy) which could be revoked in the (unlikely) case of an owner coming up with a new commercial usage.

This allowed people with no previous growing experience to both provide for their families and friends, and potentially offer surplus to a wider area. The project also made connections with other initiatives throughout Glasgow, complementing, supporting and extending the existing network of community food initiatives. SAGE offered direction and potential for the larger initiatives to be developed into vibrant social enterprises.

ERZ authored a detailed scoping study on behalf of the Glasgow and Clyde Valley (GCV) Green Network Partnership. This guided the development of a range of demonstration sites across Metropolitan Glasgow and within participating local authorities in the Clyde Valley. A copy of the study is available HERE.

The central proposal is a ‘growing toolkit’, which includes a high quality, durable, designed “modular system” of grow boxes/bags made from recycled materials. The first of these modular systems was put in place at a demonstration site, the Concrete Garden by St Matthews Church, Possilpark; winning the prestigious Chairman’s prize at the Scottish Design Awards.

Set out as a three year programme the strategy went from fully supported schemes, to partially assisted, leading to a final year of autonomous self-sustaining operations or inspiring good design values with external partners. The same approach was applied to annual Glasgow Harvest festivals which started with the first curated by NVA at the Hidden Gardens with the next 2 years expanded to collaborate with other growing organisations across the city.

These completed works use the SAGE permanent kit:


Bellsmyre Community Garden
Whiteford Ave, Bellsmyre, West Dunbartonshire, G82

Shettleston Community Growing Project
Dalness Street, Glasgow, G32

These sites use the SAGE temporary kit:


The Concrete Garden
200 Balmore Road, Glasgow, G22 6LJ

Blyth-Spirit Community
Blythswood Court, Glasgow, G2 7PH

Greyfriars Garden
Shuttle Street, Glasgow, G1 1QA