Our Environmentally Sustainable Food Journey

Arran has a rich history of food cultivation; of crofting, farming and fishing. Sometimes referred to as the legendary ‘Island of Apples’ for the Gaels, our varied and diverse landscape has offered many opportunities for growing, rearing and producing food.
At the turn of the 20th century the island was the site of potato trials, producing such famous varieties such as the Arran Pilot and Arran Victory.

Sheep and dairy production have a long heritage and strong tradition and have been the primary agricultural practices on the island with new horticultural farms becoming established more recently as well as a resurgence in local growing.


Eating seasonal food produced locally is a tangible way to improve the sustainability of our diets. From wild garlic, langoustines and venison in spring, lamb, peas and brambles in summer, mackerel, apples and leeks in autumn to potatoes, beef and kale in the winter, Arran has the best of seasonal Scottish produce. 

By choosing to eat food grown and produced on Arran we are able to know more about its production. We are able to make the connections between bread from the Blackwater Bakehouse being baked using whey from the Arran Brie production process. We can see spent hops from the Arran Brewery and Arran Whisky distilleries being repurposed as feed for Arran Wild Boar and for lamb that goes on to be sold at the Arran Butcher.

A steak served at the Drift Inn is from beef farmed a mile away at Glenkiln Farm and scallops bought at Mara Fish Bar & Deli were hand dived in local waters. The story goes on and this connection of food to place roots us in Arran’s Food Journey and guides the way to a sustainable food future where local, seasonal produce shortens our supply chains and moves towards a circular food economy.

On Arran, some of our farmers are engaged in a net-zero pilot project looking at reducing on-farm greenhouse gas emissions; regenerative agriculture and permaculture are practiced by Woodside Arran. Arran Milk have established milk vending machines in many of the island villages to ensure a fresh, local supply. Our guest houses and accommodation providers are increasingly sourcing local produce to share with visitors.

We can take farm tours at Bellevue Farm to learn more about the farm to fork story and Arran COAST has a visitor centre where we can dive into the world of sustainable seafood and fishing practices. The newly formed Pioneer Project offers opportunities to become involved in community farming and Arran Eco Savvy provides guidance on living a Sustainable Island Life.

We have an island-wide water refill network and wonderful village shops such as Bay Stores who have introduced zero waste ranges.

Our restaurants use Robin Gray’s leaves in their salads and Arran Cheese in their dishes. We have local beekeepers and artisan chutney makers and foraged delicacies from our shores can be found in the Arran Gin and at Crofters larder. Arran is truly an island of food abundance! 

Whether resident or visitor, as we move towards a net-zero Scotland our local food economy and culture is evolving and we all play a part in the Arran Food Journey. A considerate approach to our landscape, to our food production and our continued support for the good practices of our food community move us closer to a more environmentally sustainable food future. 

credit: Jessica Wallace, Sustainable Food Coordinator, Arran Eco Savvy.
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