Students bag up their greens for weekly deliveries

Jewel and Esk College students with bags of organic vegetables from Whitmuir Farm, near West Linton
Jewel and Esk College students with bags of organic vegetables from Whitmuir Farm, near West Linton

BRIDGING course students at Jewel & Esk College have teamed up with West Linton’s Whitmuir Organics to sell bags of vegetables at the college’s Edinburgh and Midlothian campuses.

The partnership was set up last month after a group of students visited the 54 hectare (133 acres) upland farm in a bid to get the students involved with an environmental initiative which included the college and local community.

Farmer Pete Ritchie said: “The visit was so successful that the idea of a veg bag scheme for the college was born, as both staff and students set to work establishing a weekly order system.”

Students visit the farm once a week to sort, weigh and bag organic vegetables which are delivered to staff at each campus.

The students gain practical work experience while improving their enterprise and numeracy skills and they make a small profit from each veg bag sale, which is reinvested into other activities.

The college’s bridging course leader Bob Montgomery said: “We are constantly looking for innovative ways to engage students with their learning and also offer them the chance to try new things.

“The response has been fantastic and the students’ confidence has really been boosted by the success of the project so far.”

More than 40 orders are being placed weekly in the project which is now in its fifth week.

Mr Ritchie, who co-owns the farm with partner Heather Anderson, said: “The students are genuinely interested in where their food comes from and seem to be getting a lot out of their time on the farm.

“We hope to work on more joint projects with the college in the future.”

Other projects already under way are with the college’s carpentry and joinery department, with Whitmuir shop selling students’ handmade bird boxes and taking recycled material and scrap wood from larger joinery projects as fire kindling.