Young crofters gather to share and inspire

Donald MacSween on Lewis is one of the crofters sharing at the gathering.

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Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) are holding a free virtual gathering for Young Crofters, on Tuesday August 18, five years on from a successful residential event held at Glencanisp Lodge, Lochinver.

Four sessions, using Zoom, will cover a range of topics and offer a variety of formats. Participants can join for the whole day, running from 10am to 4pm, or individual sessions.

Contributors include some of those who attended five years ago as aspiring crofters, with one commenting that ‘the gathering that I went to five years ago was so influential it would be great to contribute something to this one!’

Session one will give a snapshot of what crofting in 2020 means to a range of young people through film shorts and presentations followed by a chance to ask questions of those who have shared their stories. Contributors include Carianne, crofter in North Uist, as well as, Sweeny, Air An Lot, based in Lewis and winner of the SCF Young Crofter of the Year award 2018, and Jacob and Kate small holders growing and selling vegetables in Glenelg, Lochalsh.

Session two will focus on Crofting during Covid, with an interactive activity followed by open discussion with SCF Director Jonathan Hedges, hoping to capture the challenges and positives as well as looking to the future.

Session three will explore ‘Adding Value’ with an introduction to the Scottish Crofting Produce mark and Croft Holidays. Beth Rose from Birchwood Croft will share her experience of SCP and Quality Meat Scotland. In the final session ‘Crofting Policy – What’s the plan?’, participants will have the opportunity to direct questions to a panel of policy and decision makers including: Siobhan Macdonald, Senior Consultant SAC; Bill Dundas, SGRPID, Claudia Rowse, Head of Natural Resource Management at SNH, Gordon Jackson from the Scottish Government Crofting Policy team and Rod Mackenzie, Crofting Commission Convener.

The day will end with the opening of nominations for the SCF Young Crofter Awards 2020.

SCF vice chairman Donald MacKinnon said: ‘This is set to be a fantastic event with a wide variety of interesting speakers and engaging topics on the agenda. This is SCF’s first attempt at holding a gathering online and we hope that it will prove to be the most accessible yet, with wide participation from across the crofting counties and beyond. Hopefully this will be the first of many.’