Whitmuir Community Benefit Society – Helping to create a Living Learning Space
About Whitmuir Community Benefit Society
Whitmuir Community Benefit Society (WCBS) was formed in late 2012 to raise funds through a share issue to transfer the land at Whitmuir into community ownership. Whether through community ownership or in other ways, the intention has always been to help develop the farm as a Living Learning Space that engages, informs and educates the public about sustainable food and farming and provides a focus for small scale innovation and research.
Whitmuir is a 54 ha upland farm located 16 miles south of Edinburgh in the beautiful Scottish Borders. The farm is owned by Heather Anderson and Pete Ritchie who have farmed it organically since 2000.
To be a Community Benefit Society member all you have to do is purchase a share at a cost of £10. We currently have over 200 members and every shareholder has one vote, irrespective of the number or value of shares they hold. The Society has a 10 year agreement with the farm to use the resources of the farm for educational and engagement purposes.
About Whitmuir Farm
Whitmuir farm rears beef cattle, sheep, pigs, layer hens and turkeys and also grows seasonal veg and soft fruit. In addition to the farming, Whitmuir Organics Ltd runs the award winning organic farm shop and café together with an online shop, home delivery service and farm butchery. Whitmuir is also home to Quercus Garden Plants, Oak Matters bespoke carpentry and the Dancing Light Gallery for contemporary Scottish Art.
Developing a Living Learning Space
Whitmuir Community Benefit Society’s original aim was to raise sufficient funds to transfer the land at Whitmuir into community ownership in order to ensure long-term public access to the farm. Whilst the initial share issue failed to raise sufficient funds, a large number of shareholders were keen to leave their shares invested in order to support the educational work at Whitmuir and the Society works closely with Pete and Heather to do this.
We currently aim to secure funding to appoint a Director to progress the aims and develop the farm as a Living Learning Space where we can host a range of educational projects. Over the last two years we have been running one such project with funding from the Climate Challenge Fund – the 2000m2 project.