There is progress with the growing of potatoes within local open spaces/school grounds across North Paisley. The potatoes within the new raised beds are being watered by children and staff at local primary schools.

Impact of Covid 19

The development of Spuds for Buddies (Phase 3) was impacted upon by the Covid 19 pandemic. During 2021, we planted 400 seed potatoes within planters at the school grounds of St. James/Mossvale Primaries and at the Disability Resource Centre.

The potatoes were harvested by P7 pupils and volunteers for distribution to families in the North Paisley area. 

Cotton bags were provided with thanks to the Unpaid Work Team of Renfrewshire Council.

Renfrewshire Environmental Trust is seeking to expand community gardening activities enabling local school pupil and nursery groups to enhance their social skills, self-confidence and work experience.

“Home Guard” potatoes ready for planting.

During March 2022, we are supporting practical gardening tasks using potato growing in schools/community venues. This will share understanding of where food comes from and how to care for the local environment. We hope this will help to reduce vandalism to local gardens, making the area more attractive and promotes maintenance of local greenspaces for use by all ages.

Some of the planters used for growing potatoes.

We are working with 6 nurseries, two primary schools and an after school group. This project is possible with funding from North Paisley Area Partnership and the Rozelle Trust.

Potato Soup Recipes

During lockdown, we have gathered some of our favourite soup recipes to share as part of the Spuds for Buddies Project.

1. Potato and Pesto Soup

Fresh pesto is a special treat to the taste buds. Store fresh pesto in the refrigerator.

Serves 4

3 slices rindless, smoked, fatty bacon
450g/1lb floury potatoes
450g/1lb onions
2 tbsp olive oil
25g/ 1 oz/ 2 tbsp butter
600 ml/1 pint/ 2 ½ cups chicken stock
600 ml/1 pint/2 ½  cups milk
100 g/31/2 oz/ ¾ cup dried conchigliette
150 ml/1/4 pint/ 5/8 cup double (heavy) cream
chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garlic
bread, to serve

Pesto Sauce
60g / 2 oz/ 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60g / 2 oz/ 2/3 cup pine nuts (kernels), crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
60g / 2 oz/ 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
white pepper
150 ml/ ¼ pint / 5/8 cup olive oil

1. To make the pesto sauce, put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process for 2 minutes, or blend by hand using a pestle and mortar.
2. Finely chop the bacon, potatoes and onions. Fry the bacon in a large pan over a medium heat for 4 minutes. Add the butter, potatoes and onions and cook for 12 minutes, stirring constantly.
3. Add the stock and milk to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the conchigliette and simmer for a further 10-12 minutes.
4. Blend in the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, salt and pepper and 2 tbsp pesto sauce. Transfer the soup to serving bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic bread.


2. Chicken and Potato Soup

Serves 4

1 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, sliced
250g / 9 oz smoked lean back bacon, chopped
1 litre / 1 ¾ pints chicken stock
800g / 1 lb 12 oz potatoes, chopped
200g / 7 oz skinless chicken breast, chopped
4 tbsp double cream
salt and pepper
grilled bacon and sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, to garnish

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
2. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes, until slightly softened.
3. Add the chopped bacon and leeks and cook for a further 3 minutes, stirring.
4. In a bowl, mix flour with enough stock to make a smooth paste, then stir it into the pan.
5. Cook, stir for 2 minutes,
6. Pour in the remaining stock, then add the potatoes and chicken.
7. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, until the chicken and potatoes are tender and cooked through.
8. Stir in the cream and cook for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and ladle into serving bowls.
9. Garnish with the grilled bacon and flat leaf parsley, serve immediately.


3. Portuguese Kale, Chorizo and Potato Soup

Serves 4

Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes

900g / 2lb potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 litre / 1 ¾ pints chicken stock or water
200g / 8 oz curly kale
100g / 4 oz piece of chorizo, cut into chunks
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan with the garlic, onion, salt and pepper and stock of water. Bring to the boil then simmer until tender.
2. Crush some of the potatoes in the liquid to thicken it slightly but leave some pieces for texture. Add a little more water if you like thinner soup. Adjust the seasoning, adding plenty of pepper.
3. While the potatoes are cooking, cut the stalks from the kale, then roll up the leaves and shred very thinly – we’re talking threads here, rather than ribbons.
4. Bring the soup back to the boil. Stir in the kale (that’s why you needed a large pan) and sausage and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Ladle into four soup bowls, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over each one and serve.


4. Chunky sausage, leek and potato soup

Serves 6

Preparation 5 minutes
Cook approximately 30 minutes

25g / 1 oz butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
450g / 1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
700g / 1 lb 8 0z leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 sticks celery
750 ml / 1 ½ pt vegetable stock
6 herby pork sausages
2 tbsp fresh chopped chives
soda scones to serve

1. Preheat the grill to high, Heat the butter and olive oil together in large pan
2. Add the onion, potato chunks, leeks and celery. Fry for 3 minutes, stirring, until beginning to soften.
3. Cover the pan, cook the vegetables for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the vegetable stock.
5. Bring to the boil. Cover; simmer for 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
Prick the sausages with a fork. Cook under the grill for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.
6. Slice thickly. Add to the soup with the fresh chopped chives. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
7. Serve with soda scones.

Soda Scones
Makes 10 scones

450g / 1lb granary flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 (284 ml) carton buttermilk
2 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 220c/Fan 200c/Gas Mark 7.
2. Grease a baking sheet.
3. Mix the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the buttermilk and 2-3 tbsp water.
4. Mix together with hands to form dough. Knead gently on a floured surface for 1 min.
5. Flatten dough with hands to 2,5cm / 1 in thickness.
6. Cut out scones using a 6cm / 2 ½ in pastry cutter.
7. Place on baking sheet. Brush with milk. Bake for 8-10 minutes.


5. Leek and Potato Soup

Serves 4

50g / 2 oz/ 4 tbsp butter
2 leeks, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
350g / 12 oz potatoes, chopped
900ml / 1 ½ pints / 3 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper

1. Heat 25g / 1 oz/ 2 tbsp of the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onions ad cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, until softened but not browned.
2. Add the potatoes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, then add the stock and bring to the boil.
3. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 30-35 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.


6. Potato and Parsley Soup with Herb Croutons

Serves 8

100g butter
275g onions, finely chopped
1 kg King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1.2 litres boiling water
20g fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra for garnish
85ml double cream, lightly whipped
1 small brioche loaf, cut into 8 slices and toasted
8 tbsp homemade pesto


200g basil, flat leaf parsley, rocket leaves
50g fresh Parmesan, grated
50g roughly chopped, peeled hazelnuts
2 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Maldon salt
12 turns freshly ground white pepper
200ml virgin olive oil

For the pesto:
1. Whiz all ingredients in a food processor for 30 seconds.
2. Scrape around the inside with a plastic spatula and whizz for a further 30 seconds.

For the soup:
1. Melt the butter in large saucepan.
2. Add the onions ad cook gently for five minutes, until softened.
3. Add the sliced potatoes and cook for a further two minutes, then stir in some seasoning and the boiling water.
4. Bring back to the boil and skim any froth from the surface.
5. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, by which time the potatoes should be falling to bits.
6. Puree the soup in a liquidiser, then pass it through a conical strainer or fine sieve.
7. Reheat gently and check the seasoning.

To serve:
1. Add the parsley and whipped cream and work with a hand blender until frothy, or simply whiz everything together in a liquidiser.
2. Pour into heated bowls and have the warm brioche croutons spread with pesto ready to go on top.


7. Curried potato and parsnip soup

Serves 4

1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp sunflower oil
1 large potato, chopped
8 oz/ 225g parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 tsp mild curry paste
1 pt/ 600ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp dried milk
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)

1. Fry onion in oil for 5 minutes
2. Add prepared vegetables and curry paste, cover and cook for 5 minutes
3. Stir in stock and seasoning, bring to the boil
4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
5. Reserve about one-third of the vegetables and liquidise or process remainder until smooth.
6. Return to pan, stir in reserved vegetables, dried milk and fresh or dried parsley.
7. Heat through gently and serve with crusty bread.


8. Chunky lentil, potato and bacon soup

Serves 4

Preparation 2-3 minutes
Cooking time 22-28 minutes

30 ml/ 2 tbsp vegetable oil
110g/ 4 oz rindless streaky bacon
1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced
225g/ 8 oz potatoes, peeled and diced
225g/ 8 0z carrots, peeled and sliced
225g/ 8 0z dried red lentils
1.5 ltr/ 3 pt chicken or vegetable stock
15ml/ 1 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the bacon, until lightly browned.
2. Add the onion, potatoes, carrots and lentils.
3. Cook for 2-3 minutes or stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour in the stock and stir in the tomato puree and seasoning.
5. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
6. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, then serve immediately, garnished with chopped parsley.


Children of key workers harvested potatoes from some of the planters before the end of the school term in June.

spuds for buddies paisley potatoes in tray june 2020spuds for buddies paisley potato harvesting june 2020Thanks to everyone who has supported Spuds for Buddies Project during the lockdown..

This week, the seed potatoes have been planted in specific wooden boxes with peat-free compost at outdoor learning areas within Shortroods and Ferguslie Park. The boxes were made and delivered by the Unpaid Work Team of Renfrewshire Council.

This project involves nurseries, primary schools, after school care groups and the disability resource centre.  This is supported by the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Rozelle Trust, Renfrewshire Council, CAF Toule Foundation and Foundation Scotland.

The harvesting of the potatoes is due to take place by the end of June 2020. However, the growing of the potatoes is affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Some volunteers involved in supporting the project have had to self-isolate and will not be able to undertake any gardening activities. Several locations are subject to temporary closures and the potatoes may not receive regular watering apart from rainwater. A weekly diary of the potato growing will be recorded by the staff over the next 3 months.

In the last 12 months, the Spuds for Buddies project has been successful in working with local schools, two local nurseries, After School Care and community groups to improve awareness of healthy eating and gardening skills in the Paisley North area.

13052019 001                      View of potatoes growing at the Healthy Heart Garden

Between March – June 2019, the project established 47 raised beds built with the support of Renfrewshire Unpaid Work Team across the Shortroods area of Paisley. Within the Healthy Heart Garden and assisted by two volunteers, potatoes were planted by 49 school pupils (P6/P7). The potatoes were successfully harvested and taken by a pupil group for use in healthy eating cookery activities in the third week of June 2019. In addition, 21 pupils from Primary 1 grew potatoes in 11 boxes within their school grounds between March – June 2019. Local nurseries and After School Care were provided with support and resources including boxes, seed potatoes and compost to grow potatoes.

18022019 spuds for buddies bagsCotton bags for harvested potatoes made by Unpaid Work Team.

23062019 008Potatoes harvested from the raised boxes made by Unpaid Work Team.

This project is seeking to continue building the knowledge, skills and work experience to enable a wider group of children within the community to manage food growing using their own raised beds in 2020.

In 2019, a new raised bed was established for a growing site at Springbank Sheltered Housing.  The plants chosen by residents included Lavender, Hydrangea, Forsythia, Buddleia, Azalea, Heathers,  and Chives.  Additional herbs (Comfry, Echinhea, Chard, Oregano, Calendula) were provided for planting, with children in June 2019.

The main beneficiaries are older people over 50, living in sheltered housing and
children attending a local nursery, aged between 2-5 years old. The local residents living in the local neighbourhood gained access to an enhanced community growing space.

10082019 005View of the raised planters in August 2019.

Through volunteering and workshops, it has helped to break down barriers between residents of all ages within the Paisley North area through involvement in gardening activities. The project has enhanced skills, knowledge and experience of local people through participation in a local environmental project. It has helped to address health issues by providing resources which encourage active living and healthy eating.

Thanks to all the supporters of this project. This was possible with funding from Greggs Environment Grant and Action Earth Grant.

Edible Paisley

We’re rethinking access to local food, from the ground up. We’re are planning to grow fruit, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers in public and unused spaces across North Paisley for everyone to share. This year, the project will establish and care for 2 edible growing sites. This is funded by Greggs and Action Earth.

In the last three months, we have identified two locations for raised planters in the Shortroods area. Also, members of the unpaid work team of Renfrewshire Council have completed the building of two raised beds for the project.

Through consultation with residents of the Springbank Road Sheltered Housing, it was agreed one of the planters could be sited on a grassed area nearby. Residents identified their favourite plants to put in the planters including Heathers, Japonica, Forsythia, Deciduous Azalea, Lavender, Hydrangea, Buddleia and Chives.

22052019 011

This planter was delivered and filled with soil by the Unpaid Work Team. It was planted by a resident from Springbank Road Sheltered Housing in May 2019.

In addition, further to discussion with staff of the Love Street Medical Centre, it was agreed to locate the second planter in an open space next to their car park. A survey was issued for patients to provide their suggestions for plants and the list of suggestions received included Pansies, Lavender, anything blue, and a tree in the middle.

22052019 014

This planter was also delivered and filled with soil by the Unpaid Work Team with support from the Disability Resource Centre. It was planted by a volunteer and a staff member in May 2019.

We are recruiting volunteers interested in supporting development of this project. Community involvement will be supported with people taking part in the project workshops and community events. This aims to support educational activities and information about food growing and caring for the environment. These sites will raise awareness and build community around the shared tasks of cultivation of trees, shrubs and edible plants.

As part of the Spuds for Buddies Project, we have supported children in the planting of seed potatoes in various boxes at the Healthy Heart Garden in the Disability Resource Centre, Mossvale Primary, Mossvale Nursery, Rainbow Nursery and Shortroods After School Care.


We work with children to teach them where food comes from and how to care for their local environment. A wider aspect of the project activity is the benefit it will provide for people on community payback orders by providing meaningful work as they make the boxes for growing the potatoes. It seeks to reduce vandalism, making the area more attractive for people moving in to newly built homes and promotes maintenance of local greenspaces for use by all ages.