You’ll recoop your investment with organic farm
OWNING a slice of the countryside is usually beyond the means of most city dwellers.
But a new initiative which allows people to buy into a farm in return for a share of its annual harvest means that even those living in the Capital’s highest tenement flats will be able to grow their own fresh fruit and vegetables.
Edinburgh-based homeless charity Cyrenians is launching a scheme that allows people to invest in anything from a chicken to an apple tree on the organic farm it owns in Midlothian.
Depending on how much people put in, they will get a selection of fruit, vegetables, free-range eggs, jams and honey in return.
Spending the minimum £25 would see an investor get a food hamper with a selection of farm produce, but a £250 orchard share offers a five-year ownership of one of the farm’s newly-planted apple trees.
An investment of £100 in a chicken share would see your dividend paid in organic eggs.
The scheme comes as another boost to fans of locally grown produce following the success of the popular weekly farmers’ market on Castle Terrace.
Emma Hutton, business development manager, said the scheme was still being finalised, but any investment would allow the charity to expand its operations at the farm.
She said: ‘The scheme could work in a number of ways and we’re still very much at the consultation and planning stage.
‘Our existing customers love the taste of our fresh produce and they like buying from us because we have a minimal impact on the environment – it’s only 15 food miles from our farm gate to their plate.
‘The new scheme would be an extension of that and would give people the chance to connect with their food in a more meaningful way.
‘There’s the obvious benefit of additional up-front investment – this enables us to plan for the future in a more secure way.
‘But there’s also the benefit of community support and engagement in our work, whether that be from increased volunteering or simply through our community shareholders spreading the word about what we do.’
The Cyrenians Farm near Kirknewton was established by the charity as a place for homeless and troubled youngsters to go to sort out their lives with a mixture of community living and work on the farm. As well as having your own dedicated tree and their investment acknowledged on the charity’s website, participants will get regular updates about the Cyrenians’ work and would get the chance to volunteer on the farm.
A decision on whether the food will be delivered or need to be collected has still to be taken by charity bosses.
Charlie Cornelius, owner of the Iglu Bar and Organic Eatery on Jamaica Street – Edinburgh’s only organic restaurant – welcomed the initiative.
He said: ‘This is a great scheme in terms of encouraging people to eat more organic food and also buying locally.
‘We try to source all of our food locally but it is difficult and the more local organic farms the better.
‘There is a growing awareness of organic food in Edinburgh and I think people will really go for this.’
The charity is also planning to offer courses and support for those who want to grow organic produce in their own gardens.
Are you interested in becoming a shareholder in the farm? See: http://www.senscot.net/view_news.php?viewid=5035.