Cyrenians Farm at Kirknewton

A new veggie box scheme with a difference

Published in Konect Calders edition May 2015

If you haven't got space, time or inclination to tend a vegetable garden, the next best thing has to be getting food that has been grown within a couple of miles of your home and delivered fresh. And even better, grown on a farm that is a social enterprise, a rehabilitation community for young people (16-30) who need support, usually as a result of family relationship breakdown, drug or alcohol issues or a mental health problem, as they are on their way back into society...

The small farm in Kirknewton owned by the charity Edinburgh Cyrenians is hoping to launch a vegetable box scheme in mid-June to make their produce available to nearby residents. The farm produces a range of staple vegetables, salad and fruit under the care of farm manager Rob Davidson, two full time employees and a team of volunteers. The rural environment is safe and secluded for vulnerable young people to progress their rehabilitation and learn new skills.

Produce is currently sold via Balerno Farmers' Market and a couple of shops in Edinburgh, but the proposed box scheme would put the produce right in the village – boxes will be available for collection from the community Green Room on Kirknewton Main Street. Boxes will include seasonal vegetables and fruit grown on the farm with salad year-round from their large poly houses. The farm produces jams, chutney and hundreds of free-range eggs every week.

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“Are you are interested in purchasing a produce box? Please email Rob on RobDavidson@cyrenians.org.uk so he can gage interest and prepare quantities for the launch.”

But there is more to the farm than “just” growing vegetables! The Farm Placement Co-ordinator, Lucy Holroyd, organises groups coming to the farm to gain practical outdoor skills and learning about where food comes from. Kirknewton Youth Group will be going regularly, and various school groups (in small numbers) have been, doing activities from building bug hotels to building raised beds.

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“Are you involved in a group which could benefit from farm experience? Capacity is limited, but email Lucy on LucyHolroyd@cyrenians.org.uk for more information.”

Rob is exploring the possibility of turning the farm into a Community Supported Agriculture project – a scheme where members of the community buy into the farm and get a share of the produce - a great way for the community to work together and enjoy local produce.

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"Are you interested in a Community Supported Agriculture scheme in Kirknewton? If so, please drop Rob an email on RobDavidson@cyrenians.org.uk so he can gage interest."

Who are the Cyrenians and why do they have a farm in Kirknewton?

The Cyrenians is an Edinburgh charity set up in 1968 to tackle homelessness in the city centre. They support people who have become excluded from family, home, work or community. Their philosophy is one of journeying together on the road to change; where one of us stumbles, the other will wait, lift their neighbour up again and once again walk on together. The farm in Kirknewton was set up in 1972 for people who needed to get away from the pressures of the city as part of their recovery. It is funded by the charity but is working towards being self-sustaining. Volunteer workers and financial donations are always welcome. See www.cyreniansfarm.org.uk

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