Scotland The Bread is the trading name of the Bread For Good Community Benefit Society, and our Society couldn’t progress its community benefit aims without the support of a wide range of companies, organisations and projects. This page will collate information on a number of our closest collaborators.
Balcaskie Estate is a member of Scotland The Bread’s Operational Group. We have built up this international consortium of farmers, agronomists and nutritionists to help us in our ongoing mission to put science behind our search for nutrient-dense wheats.
Balcaskie is a modern working estate at the heart of the East Neuk of Fife, committed to cultivating and caring for the natural environment, nurturing local business and supporting the vibrant community. The estate covers 1800 ha from the coastline at St Monans to Kellie Law and into the hills behind, with a mixture of let farms and in-hand farming operations covering a wider variety of land types. The variation in soil enables vegetables and potatoes to be grown closer to the coast, cereals and fattening livestock in the middle and at the highest points, breeding livestock make best use of the more challenging land.
Stewardship of the environment and wildlife is a key priority at Balcaskie, with the held aim to increase the vitality of all of estate land. Informed farm management takes close account of the diverse flora and fauna of the East Neuk of Fife and helps to harmonise mixed farming practice and long-term sustainability.
The estate opened Bowhouse in 2017, to supply a vital link in the food supply chain from field to fork. Balcaskie farms produce the raw ingredients, Kinneuchar Inn was bought by the estate in 2016 to provide delicious meals showcasing that produce, and Bowhouse provides a year-round destination for food lovers to explore the best local food and drink. It is a market space, a food and drink hub and a permanent base for a growing group of artisan producers: from brewers and butchers to shellfish producers and game dealers.
For the last two seasons, Soil to Slice participants Granton Community Gardeners (GCG) have planted 100 sq. m. of Scotland The Bread winter wheat across their street corner plots. These are tended communally by the project’s volunteers, and threshed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s Harvest Festival – the long straw is kept for basket weaving. The grain is then milled and the flour used by their bread club, where members practise their sourdough-baking skills. GCG are a perfect example of our Soil to Slice aims – and those of Scotland The Bread more generally – and you can read more from Granton Community Gardener Tom Kirby about their Soil To Slice story here.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) was founded in 1670 as a physic garden. It is now a world-renowned centre for plant science, horticulture and education and extends over four Gardens (Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan) boasting a rich living collection of plants.
RBGE is a valuable supporter of Scotland The Bread. The Edible Gardening Project is an active Soil To Slice member with a wheat growing plot in the Community Garden which is freely open to the public all year. It has hosted a number of well attended engagement days bringing Scotland The Bread’s work and aims to a wide audience, including Harvest Festivals at which other Soil To Slice members can gather and thresh their heritage grains, demonstrating this process to visitors.
Dr Ian Edwards, Head of Public Engagement at RBGE, commends our work, thus:
‘The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has worked in collaboration with Bread Matters over several years, and more recently with Scotland The Bread, in a number of specific events including Edinburgh International Science Festival, Gardeners’ Question Time and our very popular annual Harvest Festival at the Garden. We have a considerable focus on edible plants through our Edible Gardening Project funded by Players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This project aims to reach a wide audience as well as specific target groups that can benefit from the opportunity to grow food. In this way the educational and social objectives of both organisations have considerable overlap.
‘The holistic approach of Scotland The Bread includes a focus on wheat, and in particular the selection of strains that are of high nutritional status. This is a particularly exciting area of development in agriculture as health is such a big issue for society. The long term contribution of diet and lifestyle on health is enormous, and paying more attention to what we eat and how it is grown and processed is to be encouraged. By growing heritage strains of wheat Scotland The Bread is contributing to the genetic conservation that underpins future food security. Loss of these old strains reduces the options for crop breeding. Given that historically crop breeders have focussed on yield it is likely that old varieties harbour other desirable traits, such as nutritional quality, that have been lost or reduced in modern varieties.
‘By fostering a local culture around bread, communities are put in touch with, and have a stake in, their own food production. The enthusiasm and knowledge the project aims to disseminate will be the foundation of new rural economies based on a deeper understanding of what makes healthy and sustainable food. The RBGE is currently developing partnerships to show how plant diversity is a key part of food security and we look forward to a continued collaboration with Scotland The Bread and its excellent work.’