Food is our most essential resource. It is the Root of all Sustainability.
This area is currently very poorly set up for food sustainability. We have wonderful resources but relatively little is eaten in our local area.
The reasons are varied – traditionally livestock are born and raised here, but sold live to be grown on and eaten elsewhere; the climate makes growing fruit and vegetables a challenge; the seafood and shellfish have a strong market elsewhere – even across the seas in Europe and beyond.
We could feed ourselves far more; there is a fast growing demand in the local population for more locally produced food; and we have the bonus of a high quality tourist community who also appreciate what we already do supply and what we could produce.
Vegetables : feeding ourselves, and our local community
There is a rapidly growing interest in growing our own personally, techniques and equipment are making it more plausible to produce a wider range of fruit and vegetables than the subsistance diet of our local ancestors.
Growing as a community is fun and LORN is delighted to have been able to facilitate the transition of a significant growing resource locally from an abandoned commercial unit into an emergent community growing resource. Lorn Organic Growers are now going from strength to strength under their own steam – there are plenty of opportunities to join them. (join LOG on Facebook – and LOG on the LORNcommunity network site) and pictures of the LOG Open Day August 2014 here
Green Shoots is a new initiative taking on the walled garden at Glencruitten on the outskirts of Oban, they welcome people from all the community, to join in growing fruit and vegetables together. Photos of the Green Shoots Open Day August 2014 here
Lorn Gardening Club has been in existance for many decades in various forms from the original Lorn Rock Garden Club, and now covers more general gardening topics through their winter talks season.
Fish : The seas around us do provide boundless fish and shellfish, but much of the harvest leaves the area, and we have a great responsibility to ensure that the ecosystem is well managed. Local businesses like LORN Enterprise Member Willie Fish do make sure that many of our local hotels and restaurants are supplied by local smoked and fresh fish.
Meat : The LORN area has great potential for providing our communities with excellent tasty sustainable meat. We have clean extensive farms; great levels of stockmanship and a wealth of talent to develop delicious food businesses. We have farmers producing lamb, mutton, beef, pork, as well as estates providing venison, pheasant, wild ducks. Increasingly small producers are growing their own birds and small numbers of farm stock to feed their families. LORN is aiming to help, guide, support, promote and inspire more of this in the years to come.
One of our priorities is to facilitate the consumption of our locally produced meat. Our aspirational Pasture to Plate project would look at all the issues of getting livestock into our local food chain – for home consumption, into local shops and onto our many restaurant plates. There are many logistic issues to overcome, but the outcome would make the effort worthwhile.
Bees : There are a number of small honey producers in the area, and you can find the Oban and District Beekeepers Association contact details here
Foraged food : we have a great natural resource in the local area for free wild food – herbs, plants, game, sea food, – but we need to learn more about how to gather, hunt and cook it safely, and respecting the natural environment as we go.
Food for those less fortunate : There are several organisations who are actively helping people who need some support, especially in providing meals in Oban. The Salvation Army in Stevenson Street provide a number of resources, and HOPE kitchen feeds a number of regular clients each week. Both are working with our local hotels and supermarkets to use food that might otherwise be binned, but is perfectly safe and healthy to eat. If you want to donate they will be pleased to hear from you.
We have plenty to learn from other communities and share ideas and examples on our facebook
Other resources we need to explore, contribute to, or for other producers / initiatives can join in with.