We are part of Edinburgh Cyrenians, an independent charity providing innovative help to hundreds of people a year whose lives are blighted by homelessness and poverty. Cyrenians work with all parts of the community to combat homelessness and promote social inclusion.
Over the past 40 years we have developed a range of inter-connected services aimed at tackling all aspects of homelessness and enabling people to progress to a better life. Our help is offered with respect for the dignity of each individual and is provided in a holistic manner; ensuring that people have the best chance of finding real and lasting solutions to their problems.
A Farm with a Difference
Cyrenians Farm is a Social Enterprise located just west of Edinburgh. As well as a working farm producing local fruit and vegetables, we are also home to a community of vulnerable young people, many with backgrounds of homelessness. The Farm grows food and helps the Community to grow people providing a range of opportunities for individuals, including young trainees, to develop skills and confidence as a step towards a settled lifestyle.
We enjoy the help and support of volunteers from many and varied backgrounds and cultures, who come to help on the farm. There is the opportunity of working alongside some of our residents and trainees and this can be a most rewarding experience.
Over 80% of our young people say their experience at Cyrenians Farm improved their self-confidence, self-esteem, motivation and ability to manage their own lives.
Our farm-based projects provide an excellent opportunity for you and your colleagues to build team working skills whilst getting the satisfaction and reward of supporting the work of the charity
We are working towards being a self sustaining project through the provision of training, the selling of produce and the Corporate Team Challenge initiative. We benefit from individual and corporate support to assist us in this development.
• £10 would buy a new chicken and feed it for 2 months.
• £50 would buy us two fruit trees
• £125 would provide a day of land based skills training for one of our trainees
• £275 would give us a new bee colony to provide more honey
• £1500 would refurbish a polytunnel with a new skin, hard paving and an irrigation system
From organic to local and sustainable growing
After much thought, discussion and debate we have decided not to continue with our organic accreditation. We have been in talks with the Scottish Organic Producers Association for some time trying to find a solution to the weed problem that affects over three acres of the farm. We intended to bring the two fields into full production last year but a combination of the wet weather and the success of the weeds prevented this.
We had hoped to maintain the organic status of the chickens, orchard, rasps and polytunnels but SOPA were concerned about how we would or could separate organic and non organic produce not only on the farm, but when we were selling it too – most people know us as organic producers and would expect everything we sold to be organic. Thats the bad news, the good news is that nothing will really change (unless you are a weed in which case your days are numbered). We intend using the same growing regime as before in our tunnels, orchard, raspberry fields and of course for our chickens. Other than weed control we will continue to use methods in keeping with organic standards. A positive effect of relinquishing our certification is that we can now bring on animal generated fertiliser (dung to you and I) which we couldn’t do previously.
All in all we see this as a positive step forward for the farm. I suppose I should single out our eggs for special comment – other than a label change from "organic" to "free range" NOTHING will change; same food, same environment, same love and attention, same great taste!
We are certain that the quality of our produce will be maintained and that our local, sustainably grown produce will continue to be as good, healthy and delicious as always.