For over a decade Fyne Futures Ltd has operated Bute Produce at a site known locally as Ashfield. It was August 2008 when Fyne Futures Ltd entered into an “in kind” lease agreement with Mount Stuart Trust (Bute Estates Ltd) for 6 acre site known locally as Ashfield.
The objective was to grow local seasonal produce that would be affordable to the local community and to respond to an emerging trend for food with a low carbon footprint. A collaboration of local organisations and individuals helped establish the market garden, with an underpinning desire to create a bio-diverse space that would enable knowledge and skills development.
With community support the 6 acre market garden has been recognised far and wide for its work supporting people with barriers to employment gain knowledge, skills and confidence.
On 4th September 2020 ownership of the site was transferred from Mount Stuart Trust to Fyne Futures Ltd. This is a significant step forward for Bute Produce, with plans to develop the site as a training centre that celebrates sustainable food production.
David Wilkinson, Chairperson of Fyne Futures said “we are delighted to complete the purchase of the site from Mount Stuart Trust. We have been developing Bute Produce as a Horticultural Training Centre, focussed on people. We are ready to take the venture into the next evolution. We have an ambitious plan to own the site and create a celebration of food from field to fork which creates experiences for people to make low carbon food choices and gain knowledge and skills useful to gaining employment and participating more fully in our community.”
This ambitious plan became possible following Fyne Group’s successful renewable energy project which went ‘live’ February 2019.
Mount Stuart Trust has been very supportive of the project to date. Colin Boag, Managing Director of Mount Stuart Trust said “This is a very important project for both the island and the region and the Trust is very pleased that it is about to move to the next stage. Bute Produce has already achieved so much and this will facilitate even more growth and development.”