Horticulture on Lewis and Harris received a boost today (Tuesday February 6) with Lewis and Harris Horticultural Producers (LHHP) announcing the hiring of a new co-ordinator/activator.
Sarah Longbottom started with the group yesterday (Monday February 5) on a part-time basis with the remit to promote the growing of vegetables and fruit on the islands.
She brings to the job an eclectic range of skills from business and community engagement, including time overseas, and is currently a crofter.
Supported financially by the Lottery Community Fund, the role will also help raise the profile and local output of horticultural produce.
This will particularly focus on growers on crofts, allotments, community gardens, private gardens, and schools, and those using poly crubs or poly tunnels. Sarah will be contacting individual growers to gauge what is currently being grown, as well as visiting shops, markets, and community outlets to gauge the latent demand for produce.
Susanne Erbida, Chairperson of LHHP, welcomed Sarah to the new role.
“The LHHP is very conscious of the demand for local fresh produce as expressed by the many customers who frequent the Perceval Square Market in Stornoway on Saturdays and by local shops throughout the islands," she said.
"However, there is insufficient supply to meet this demand. Sarah’s job will be to close this gap for the benefit of growers and sellers alike - benefits which reach beyond the personal satisfaction from producing fresh food.”
Vice Chair Matt Bruce echoed the welcome. He said: “She (Sarah) was selected by a public advert, application and interview process and will begin working immediately.
“The LHHP expects this critical activity will encourage more food to be grown locally and promote the many advantages which growing one’s own food can have, not just for the grower but for the community which benefits from fresh produce and reduced reliance on imported products.
"It will go a long way towards community sufficiency.”
Any crofter, group, organisation or school that would like to speak with Sarah can reach her at