Stirling-based environmental charity, Forth Environment Link (FEL) has announced the awarding of two grants from its Central Scotland Green Network Orchard Futures Fund to two Stirlingshire businesses.
The awards have been made to Knockraich Farm Orchards in Fintry for fruit processing equipment for the existing farm orchard, and to The Fordhead Fruit Farm near Kippen for orchard planting, fruit pressing equipment and product marketing.
The fund was set up to contribute to halting the decline of the Scottish orchard sector and to encourage its growth. The vision of the fund is to ‘work jointly to grow the Central Scotland orchard sector, not just the fruit’ by creating new opportunities for sustainable orchard business development. The goal is to work in collaboration with the whole sector and contribute to developing a more consolidated and sustainable food supply chain.
Project Co-ordinator, Diane Alderdice, said, “Our congratulations to both applicants! We were very impressed with the business proposals put forward, as they were a perfect fit with the scheme’s vision.
Knockraich Farm already has one of the largest orchards in the Forth Valley, without any means of processing the large volumes of fruit that it is starting to yield. Investing in processing equipment will increase the economic value of the orchard and contribute to a sustainable future of the business and the orchard itself”.
Ian Rodger of Knockraich Farm Orchard said, “We are delighted to receive this funding award. It’s good to work with an organisation like FEL who share our enthusiasm for orchards in central Scotland.”
Diane continued, “The Fordhead Fruit Farm is a new orchard to be planted with 200 trees, to add to an already successful diverse business, with the aim of producing bottled apple juice using Scottish apple varieties for sale in their farm shop.”
Richard & Matthew Lamb of The Fordhead Fruit Farm said, "We are extremely grateful to have received this grant. It is our intention that this funding will be used towards the purchase of cider making equipment, creating a new orchard, and marketing the products. We are very excited to be working with local brewer Paul Miller of Fallen Brewery and the Woodhouse Farm shop on this new project."
Both businesses are family-run and are very passionate about local food and the impact that their businesses have on the environment, the local economy and the local community. Impressively the growing, processing and selling process will mostly take place within a mile of each respective business, so that there will be a low carbon footprint and a very positive benefit to the local communities and wider area.