Whitmuir Community Farm

On Friday 8th September I went to visit a school friend who lives just outside Edinburgh in a picturesque village called West Linton.  Lorna and I had met each other in 1st year at high school and immediately became friends.  We did not share many things in common, as you can see from the photo, but it has been a long lasting friendship.  (honestly, we are both the same age)

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Lorna and I age 12

After dinner at Lorna’s, whilst clearing the plates I noticed that the food waste was being put directly into the landfill.  When I asked where her food bin was she told me they didn’t have one. It turns out that if a village has less than a population of 3,000 there is no obligation for the local council to provide food bins.  However, she mentioned that a local farm had a project for food waste. So began my investigation!

The next day, Lorna took me to Whitmuir farm. Here I found out how this local farm is contributing towards combatting food waste in the absence of a council run food waste collection in the West Linton and Newlands area.

Step 1 – Sign up: People sign up for the project and receive one small food caddy and one large food caddy.

Food caddy

Step 2 Collection: Once the caddy is full then you can take it to one of the three collection points.  Two local primary schools and the third is the farm itself. This is a great incentive for school children to get involved and learn.


Step 3 – Changing it into compost: The caddy is taken to the compost area.  In here it is weighed and recorded in a log book and then exchanged for an empty caddy.


Step 4 – The Big Hanna:  The waste is poured into the machine. The machine uses low energy consumption as the biological process generates heat and the cylinder is only rotated one minute every hour.  The waste takes about 6 weeks to go through the process and at the end, the food waste has been converted into mature high-quality compost.

Pouring the waste into big Hanna

Step 5 – Compost use: The compost is then used in the 2000m2 plot on the farm where last year they grew over 2 tonnes of vegetables that were shared with the local community. It can also be used by community members in their own gardens.

Compost produced after 6 weeks

Composting with Big Hanna – this is how it works

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  “Composting with Big Hanna – This Is How It Works.” Big Hanna Composter,           Copyright Susteco AB, http://www.bighanna.com/how/.

How is this helping our environment?

CO2 emissions have been drastically reduced.


What a fantastic effort from Whitmuir farm and the local community.  If you live in the West Linton or Newlands area then please do get involved with this project.

The farm also has lots of other community projects, cooking schools and volunteering opportunities to get involved with.

Check it out: http://www.whitmuircommunityfarm.org/

Thank you, Lorna, for showing me around your community.

35p at a time: Could this be a small change you could make?

Do you live in a small town that does not have food caddies? Is this something that could work in your local community?  Are you an owner of a farm that could follow the excellent example of Whitmuir farm?

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