On 24th September, as part of Arran’s Festival of Food and Drink, Woodside Arran hosted a pick your own lunch event at the farm in Kildonan. Around 30 people joined Jenny and Andy McDonald and their team, on a brilliant sunny Saturday, for a tour of the farm and then a home-cooked lunch with many of the ingredients sourced from their produce.
Jenny gave an inspiring and informative talk, telling us about their time at the farm since they arrived 6 years ago. She described the ups and downs of organic farming, and the often painful processes they have gone through to get to where they are now – a vibrant and successful community-supported agriculture project. Combining details of growing vegetables with the wider political and historic context of a small organic farm, we learnt about no-dig bed principles and soil structure, weeding and composting, as well as the bureaucratic hoops Woodside continues to encounter and the questionable invention many years ago – in terms of our removed relations from nature – of the toilet flush!
Last year during the lockdown Woodside were awarded funding to make more of the land around them productive, growing vegetables which they gave to to the local community for free. I think Jenny said they distributed 1.2 tonnes of food in this way, providing an enormous asset to the island. Since then they have continued farming this extended area of land, adding more polytunnels and greenhouses, and also have recently acquired a great new shed, with space for a kitchen, equipment and many more possibilities.
We picked kale for lunch and pulled tomatoes off vines, and then all sat down at big wooden tables to an amazing lunch, of freshly baked bread, vegetable and chickpea curry, onion bahji’s, pickled carrots and cucumber, and salad from the fields. Followed by 3 puddings, including possibly the best bramble Pavlova I’ve ever had (thank you Jenny!).
It was an incredible insight into what Andy and Jenny have achieved over the last 6 years, and the optimism generated for them by the increasing numbers they are witnessing who are either starting to grow along permaculture lines or becoming aware of this kind of agriculture was clear.
SATURDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2022 AT 14:00
Straw Weaving Class with Julia Bovee at Woodside Farm
SUNDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2022 AT 14:30
Wild Woodcraft Class at Woodside Farm
SATURDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2022 FROM 11:30-13:00
Fermentation and Food Preservation with Eco Savvy at Woodside Farm