Jenny gets start-up funds for new island Veggie Van
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.
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.’
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.