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Woodside Arran Produce

Woodside Arran

Bringing fresh ideas to enterprise.

Working as a social enterprise is empowering. We’ve dedicated more than a decade to creating a commercial farm which provides ethical and sustainable local access to fresh affordable food, and is also a place for the community.
Jenny Macdonald, Woodside Arran
Woodside Arran Vending Machine 2

From a dream to reality

Even better than grab and go, with these vending machines at Woodside Arran Farm in Kildonan, you get grab and grow! 

Bursting with the freshest farm fayre, the machines are just the latest way husband and wife team Andrew and Jennifer Macdonald are opening up access to fresh, sustainably and ethically grown local produce to their local community.

Both having a background in health, it was their dream to combine the benefits of good nutrition and spending time in nature to develop the ultimate in health farms. In 2017, they were able to lease some unused farm land, and set out on their journey to establish a market garden alongside free range chickens, quails and rare breed pigs. 

Over the last three years Woodside Arran, which operates as a community interest company, has quadrupled in size.

Woodside Arran Sheds

Progress

With 13 acres dedicated to growing and 27 acres to grazing, the team is working hard to deliver their aspirations for the community. So far their progress has delivered benefits including:

  • during the COVID-19 lockdowns they scaled up dramatically to provide 1.4 tons of fresh produce for what were predominantly free community food box deliveries;
  • fresh seasonal food for schools and care homes on the mainland through contracts with North Ayrshire Council;
  • convenient, flexible access to a wide range of farm produce from the vending machines;
  • seasonal vegetable box deliveries;
  • the creation of significant infrastructure to support growth, including a shed for packaging and production (and the vending machines), and a chicken coop for their 300 strong free range hens;
  • supporting local living-wage jobs, including future skills development through two graduate placements with HIE;   
  • community events and volunteer activity sharing knowledge about ethical growing.
Woodside Arran Land

Support and what's next?

Jenny and Andrew's vision for the farm is 'to establish a model of sustainable, resilient and self sufficient community-led regenerative agriculture that protects biodiversity and generates local livelihoods'. 

Jenny is first to say setting up any business isn't easy and it's never a 9 to 5 job. She says that support is a vital part of the process. She says they could never have achieved all they have done without the help of their directors, staff and the volunteers who have helped along the way. Also the broad network of other growers she speaks to.

She encourages everyone to take all the support can. Organisations including Firstport, North Ayrshire Council and HIE have helped the business establish itself and negotiate topics like governance, HR, accountancy and capital growth.

Jenny says their plans for the future include reintroducing community events - particularly for the younger generation. They are also planning to look at expanding their range. With one of their graduate team being chef trained this is likely to include how they can develop fresh meal options. Watch those vending machine spaces for new options in the future!  

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