Case Studies

Growth for community farm with launch of online courses 

A Shetland community farm that grows and distributes vegetables across the island has launched a series of online courses to encourage people to grow their own food and produce after accessing help from DigitalBoost, Scotland’s national digital training programme.

About the business

Transition Turriefield was set up in 2010 by Penny Armstrong and Alan Robertson to promote local food and help the islands become more food secure. They grow and distribute food via popular veg boxes and provide training to individuals and groups on growing food outdoors and under cover in Shetland.

After lockdown, we knew we had to evaluate how we delivered our courses. It was clear that we had to move online but neither of us had the skills. However, our adviser Jeff pointed us towards DigitalBoost, and we were able to upskill quickly and were soon confident enough to host and manage virtual sessions.

How Business Gateway has helped

Founded by Penny Armstrong and Alan Robertson in 2010, Transition Turriefield is a social enterprise and community croft based in Sandness, Shetland. As a team, they are passionate about providing training to individuals and community groups on growing food outdoors across the islands. However, their series of courses were cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, so the duo approached Business Gateway and accessed support via DigitalBoost.

Working with their adviser via 1:1 sessions, Penny and Alan soon had the confidence to host virtual meetings. They also were able to develop a robust online strategy which included video production to promote the business, as well as social media planning.

Since then, the team has been able to launch a series of beginner’s guides aimed at novice growers and are working with a developer to improve their website.

Penny, founder, Transition Turriefield, said: “After lockdown, we knew we had to evaluate how we delivered our courses. It was clear that we had to move online but neither of us had the skills. However, our adviser Jeff pointed us towards DigitalBoost, and we were able to upskill quickly and were soon confident enough to host and manage virtual sessions.

“DigitalBoost also allowed us to adapt a project we launched in January 2021, to help Shetland increase local food production, reduce its carbon footprint and enhance food security across the island. With this training from DigitalBoost, we can increase our reach and exposure by delivering more sessions virtually, which is fantastic for us as a rural and remote business.”

Kirsten Nicolson, Business Gateway Shetland Manager, said: “By engaging with DigitalBoost, Alan and Penny now have the confidence to improve their online presence which will lead to greater exposure both locally and further afield. They were able to rapidly adopt more effective working practises during the pandemic, and it’s great to see how they are integrating that into their future plans for the business.”

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