Lews Castle College and the Lewis Harris Horticultural Producers have made another breakthrough in the challenge to provide healthy local foods.
There is now a formal agreement by the College to lease a piece of croft land to the Horticultural Producers to manage the site to produce local produce for own consumption and for sale.
Lews Castle College UHI Principal Iain Macmillan and LHHP Chairman Matt Bruce are pictured signing an agreement (above) confirming the lease arrangements for the LHHP – operated area within the college estate.
Mr Bruce expressed his delight at the formalising of the partnership: “We have worked closely with the College over recent years and this agreement signals a new phase of cooperative working.
“We are pleased to see an increase in the opportunities for allotment holders and horticultural producers.
“LHHP has enjoyed several years of development and this is a good juncture at which to encourage new members who are interested in taking up market gardening, or even curious to find out what we’re about.”
Iain Macmillan, Principal of Lews Castle College UHI was keen to emphasise the importance of the college’s partnership with the horticultural producers: “The College is already engaged in several initiatives to produce local produce and to engage people.
“This is an example of the College‘s keenness to develop and nurture strong links with groups within our community.
“LHHP is an excellent organisation and we look forward with great optimism to the future.”
Mr Bruce added that he was delighted with this lease offer from the College for it enables the LHHP to plan for a secure future, increase its numbers and hence the range of fruit and vegetables available to the public at its weekly market stall in Perceval Square.
The Group is very grateful to the College for this offer for it will allow the Group to apply for financial assistance to upgrade the land make it more attractive, more productive and more easily cultivated.
Some of the allotments are already contributing to cheap food to household diets which range from artichokes, parsnips and blackberries to strawberries, carrots and potatoes.
In addition bedding plants, cut flowers and household plants are grown for sale.
This latest initiative by the two parties cements an already existing informal arrangement and increases the interaction between them for the benefit of students, group members and the community.
The horticultural group have allotments and beds in polytunnels for lease at nominal rents.