GrowBiz Year of the Stories – Bute Produce

GrowBiz Year of the Stories – Bute Produce

This case study was originally produced in partnership with GrowBiz for ‘Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022’ which provided an opportunity to celebrate the innovative & vibrant businesses within Scotland’s rural and island economy with stories to tell. The theme for September was ‘Food and Drink’.

Who?:  Fyne Futures Ltd is a registered charity and social enterprise with two pillars which are People and Environment. Their purpose is to: ‘Inspire, educate and empower’ people to live sustainable rural lives. Bute Produce is a 6 acre bio-diverse market garden that supports employability and horticultural training, and provides a green box scheme to their local community.

Where?: Bute Produce are of course located on the Isle of Bute! Isle of Bute is a wonderful place to live and work. It is a safe, bio-diverse and people-diverse island with a rich heritage from the era of standing stones to the internationalist modernist Pavilion.

When?: Fyne Futures Ltd was set up in 2005 as a trading subsidiary of Fyne Homes. Bute Produce was developed in 2008 and the site opened as a market garden in 2009.

Why?: The idea was to reduce the carbon footprint of the food supply chain and provide training activity for people with barriers to gaining employment.

Challenges: For many years Bute Produce were unable to develop the site due the terms of the lease, however they now own the garden and that will see many of their ambitions come to fruition. The biggest challenge has been the ever changing employability landscape with different schemes that start and stop, funding inconsistencies and the impact these have had on resourcing the garden to achieve efficient and effective year round production.

Achievements: There have been many achievements, particularly with people where Bute Produce have played a key role in their personal development. In terms of the garden, being able to develop it as a bio-diverse site that produces a wide range of herbs, soft & hard fruits, and seasonal vegetables has been a wonderful journey for the Organisation. The addition of beehives and producing local honey has been very satisfying.  Bute Produce are currently developing a range of chutneys, ferments, jams and jellies to add value to the produce.

What is special about Scotland’s food and drink: 

Bute Produce believe that the provenance of the produce and the passion of the makers is what is special about Scotland’s food and drink.  When they brought  Bute Heritage potatoes back into production, there was a great historical story that linked Bute Produce back to the days when local growers were cultivating their own seed potatoes, one of which was named ‘Pride of Bute’.  There is also a sense of looking forward to being a Good Food Nation and all that that could mean for Scotland’s communities.


Read more about Bute Produce here.