“The challenges posed by the climate and nature crises for potatoes are significant and threaten this global crop. We have extensive experience in potato breeding at the Hutton and our work is critical in developing potatoes which are more resilient to climate change, and which require less input and are thus more sustainable longer term”
29 November 2023, UK: The James Hutton Institute, home to the UK’s leading potato research centre, has donated 932 bags of locally grown potatoes to Scotland’s leading food redistribution organisation, FareShare.
The 7,835 kg donation was collected by FareShare at the Institute’s campus at Invergowrie and taken to the charity’s five Regional Centres in Aberdeen, Alness, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow to be shared with communities in need ahead of the festive season.
The donated potatoes were grown as part of a large-scale field trial, successfully undertaken in 2023 at the Hutton’s Balruddery Farm. The field trial included a range of well-known varieties which when harvested were bagged separately and donated to FareShare.
These varieties are among 100 varieties of potatoes the James Hutton Institute has developed over the last century with legacy research and industry partners. Continued research projects aim to produce potatoes which can handle global threats posed by climate and nature crises including pests and disease, in order to contribute to better food security in the future.
Euan Caldwell, Head of Farms, Fields and Glasshouse at the James Hutton Institute said: “The challenges posed by the climate and nature crises for potatoes are significant and threaten this global crop. We have extensive experience in potato breeding at the Hutton and our work is critical in developing potatoes which are more resilient to climate change, and which require less input and are thus more sustainable longer term.
“Our Farm Team have worked tirelessly to prepare the potatoes for collection and my thanks to the FareShare team for arranging the collection and distribution.
“I am so pleased that this harvest will not only inform our learning but will benefit so many people who need it most this winter.”
FareShare is dedicated to redistributing good-to-eat surplus food to charities, helping communities across the country tackle food waste and hunger.
FareShare has been responsible for redistributing 3,725 tonnes of quality excess food across Scotland in the past year – the equivalent of 8.9 million meals – supporting a total of 585 charitable and community groups. Food redistributed in Scotland in the last year is estimated to have benefitted 66,000 people, from the Borders to the Highlands and islands.
Last year, the Institute donated a further three tonnes of potatoes, helping FareShare in their goal to expand their services to more communities, by providing increased access to nutritious and affordable food.
Clare O’Keefe, Commercial Officer at FareShare UK said: “We are hugely grateful to the James Hutton Institute for providing such a generous donation to FareShare for the second year in a row.
“The food distributed is used by many different types of community groups, including food pantries, community cafes, after-school clubs, and homeless shelters. We are seeing demand for food increase, and we are expecting that to grow further over the coming winter.
“Donations like this make it possible to provide community groups with the means to supply and prepare healthy, nutritious meals through the winter.”
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