Bute Produce is a local community garden on the Isle of Bute. The project raises awareness and understanding of local food production and provides training, volunteering, employment and educational opportunities for the wider community.
Launched in September 2009, with funding from Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund and LEADER, the project’s socially productive use of the physical asset of the land generates a range of social, environmental and economic benefits for the island. The gain from the use of the asset is harnessed by local people and community organisations.
Bute Produce provides employed training opportunities as well as on-going volunteering opportunities. The project supports people to identify assets within themselves and their local communities, and helps them to use these to make sustainable improvements in their lives. This investment in local people encourages and enables them to contribute to their local community and the local economy.
Bute Produce work closely with all local nurseries and schools to support curriculum for excellence for 3 – 18 with a range of activities, workshops, work experience and certified courses. The garden is an asset for the whole community and beyond.
By growing local produce for residents to consume, the project works to improve the local food supply chain network on Bute, making the island more sustainable and less reliant on the mainland. The local supply chain offers increased island provenance for products made by local private enterprise, as well as a localised supply option for public sector procurement. This is a means through which greater social and environmental benefits can be gained, increasing wealth retention within the local economy.
Beyond the growing of fruit and vegetables, Bute Produce also work with the community in a Food Sharing initiative. This encourages the use of fresh and local produce in diets and when preparing or cooking meals. The community have opportunities to get together and share food, but also to share their food stories, memories and knowledge.
Bute Produce is a component of Fyne Futures Limited, a Social Enterprise that incorporates recycling, carbon reduction and regeneration activities. In line with these sustainable priorities, ReStyle operates a Making Things Last programme. This involves the reuse and restyling of furniture, but also upskilling volunteers to take in small repairs, work with textiles and waste products (for examples tyres, palettes, roof slates). This not only benefits the environment and the amount of material making its way to landfill sites, it also creates opportunity for social contact and working with others.