Jenny gets start-up funds for new is­land Veg­gie Van

The Arran Banner - - News -

An Ar­ran so­cial en­tre­pre­neur has been awarded start-up fund­ing for her new busi­ness tak­ing fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles di­rect to cus­tomers across the is­land.

Jenny Mac­don­ald has re­ceived a £2,325 Start It award from the So­cial En­trepreneurs Fund to pi­lot her busi­ness Wood­side Ar­ran CIC – The Veg­gie Van.

Jenny runs an or­ganic mar­ket gar­den at Wood­side Farm in Kil­do­nan with hus­band Andy and has just launched an or­ganic fruit and veg­etable box scheme. Af­ter a few months’ trial serv­ing the south of the is­land, she will ex­tend her de­liv­er­ies is­land-wide later this month.

She says the new busi­ness will help ad­dress the lack of ac­cess to af­ford­able, good qual­ity fresh veg­eta­bles on the is­land. Cus­tomers can sub­scribe for weekly veg­etable boxes or buy di­rect – and low in­come res­i­dents can ex­change hours of work for free food through a work share scheme.

Route

The Veg­gie Van will also pro­vide a route to mar­ket for other lo­cal food pro­duc­ers, sup­port­ing the lo­cal econ­omy.

Jenny said: ‘Wood­side Ar­ran’s aims are sim­ple: we would like to es­tab­lish a di­verse lo­cal food net­work for the is­land of Ar­ran that en­com­passes or­ganic grow­ing tech­niques, per­ma­cul­ture de­sign prin­ci­ples and re­gen­er­a­tive agri­cul­tural prac­tices.

‘We would like to pro­vide as many res­i­dents, tourists and lo­cal busi­ness the op­por­tu­nity to buy healthy, high qual­ity food while ed­u­cat­ing and sup­port­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to be­come con­nected to the food they eat.’

Free range

As well as fruit and veg­eta­bles, the farm also has its own free-range, rare-breed pork, free-range eggs and or­ganic and other nat­u­ral prod­ucts avail­able.

Jenny is one of 28 in­di­vid­u­als from across Scot­land to be awarded fund­ing from the So­cial En­trepreneurs Fund. The awards, to­talling £167,000, were de­liv­ered by First­port, Scot­land’s start-up so­cial en­ter­prise de­vel­op­ment agency.

Karen McGre­gor, chief ex­ec­u­tive of First­port, said: ‘So­cial en­ter­prises play an im­por­tant role sup­port­ing Scot­land’s com­mu­ni­ties by tack­ling so­cial, en­vi­ron­men­tal and com­mu­nity is­sues. I’m de­lighted that First­port is able to give these en­trepreneurs the sup­port they need to take their ideas for­ward.’

Start It awards are for peo­ple who have an in­no­va­tive busi­ness idea that tack­les a range of dif­fer­ent so­cial is­sues within their com­mu­ni­ties. Bud­ding en­trepreneurs can ap­ply for up to £5,000 of start-up costs to pi­lot their idea.

Jenny at work on Wood­side Farm.

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