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Community / Food growing project secures extra funding

Photo: Transition Turriefield

WESTSIDE social enterprise Transition Turriefield has secured a further £17,000 for a pilot project designed to support individuals and community groups to grow their own food.

The new funding has come from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Earlier this week the three-year Grow Shetland project was awarded nearly £100,000 from the Crown Estate fund, which is administered by Shetland Islands Council.

Due to the size of the grant the funding had to be approved by councillors.

The project will look to support people and groups to access land, set up growing sites, get the most out of their plots, and use and share their produce with the wider community.

It will also work with experienced growers as volunteer grower mentors to support new growers in their local communities and will create an online resource for Shetland specific growing information, advice and support.

It echoes a Fair Food Policy approved by councillors last year which aims to increase food growing, encourage healthy eating and promote access to affordable food.

Transition Turriefield’s Penny Armstrong said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to share what we’ve learnt over the years about growing veg, running projects and getting local produce out to the community.

“We’ve had so many folk since we started up asking for advice, especially since lockdown.

“Our Grow Shetland project will help us support folk right across Shetland, including the really remote rural communities, to set up their own growing sites and produce more of their own food. We’re really pleased we can contribute to a stronger, healthier Shetland.”

Mhari McLeman from Highlands and Islands Enterprise said: “HIE is one of the key statutory community planning partners and this project will contribute significantly to the delivery of a key improvement project in the Shetland Partnership delivery plan – of moving Shetland towards becoming an equitable food community.

“The project will deliver a permanent online resource too, owned and managed by a community interest company, which will support food growing initiatives throughout Shetland and that will have lasting legacy in our community for years and decades to come.”

Sandness based Transition Turriefield has been growing commercially for 10 years, providing fruit and vegetables for the community through their veg box scheme and to rural shops and Scoop Wholefoods.