We’re growing more veg to help keep Arran fed

Andy tends to the already flowering courgettes.

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Woodside Farm is gearing up to help keep Arran fed in the tough months which lie ahead.

Scottish government funding from the COVID-19 supporting communities fund, through Highlands and Island Enterprise, has allowed them to expanding production by 400 per cent at their Kildonan farm.

And all the produce will be available on a ‘pay what you can’ donation basis.

Jenny and Andy Macdonald have been developing Woodside Arran CIC as a not-for-profit social enterprise for three years. However, have been able to ramp up the scale of production thanks to the funding, which has also allowed them to employ six part time staff.

And it is the whole of Arran who will benefit from the enterprise which the couple hope will keep the island fed with locally grow quality fruit and vegetables over the coming months.

As Jenny told the Banner: ‘There are a lot of people struggling at the  financially and in other ways due to the pandemic but a lot are too proud to use a foodbank.

‘We see this as a halfway house where people can pay what they can affording for good quality local produce.’

The big expansion has seen a new 1000 sq metre field planted at the farm which has spectacular views over Pladda and Ailsa Craig ploughed for the first time. In six weeks a large area of market garden has been created from a grazing field thanks to the hard work of Andy and his team.

‘This is a big expansion for us and the first time we have ploughed this field since we took over tenancy of the farm but the soil here is really good as it has been created by the silt coming off the hills,’ Andy said.

Here a range of vegetables is already showing signs of growth underneath the ground fleece helping to keep them warm and healthy some of which will be ready for market shortly.

Produce will be available twice a week from Tuesday June 30 for at least four months from 2pm on Tuesdays at the small Co-op car park in Brodick and from 2pm on Wednesdays at the Kinloch Car Park in Blackwaterfoot.

Jenny said: ‘Pick up is completely anonymous as are donations, give if you can, don’t worry if you can not. If you are in a position to donate please feel free to give any percentage of the value of your produce you can afford, or if you are comfortable you can even “buy forward” some produce for those who cannot currently afford their own.’

Payment will be via their donations welly or customers can use any of the paperless options which can be found on their website woodsidearran.com

If you cannot arrange pick up at one of these points due to health or financial reasons please get in touch the the farm and they will try to arrange a drop off to your local community hub or to your home.

‘We hope people will support what we are doing in trying to help feed the people of Arran with quality local produce at these difficult times,’ Jenny added.

 

Jenny and Andy Macdonald at Woodside Farm. 01_B26farm01

The site of the newly planted market garden overlooking Pladda and Ailsa Craig. 01_B26farm02

Andy tends to the already flowering courgettes. 01_B26farm03