Cream of Galloway diversification model
Cream of Galloway is a shining example of sustainable development, green tourism, high welfare farming and land use diversification. It is a long established farm business operating near to the community of Gatehouse of Fleet. It achieved and maintains the Gold level award from the Green Tourism http://www.green-business.co.uk/index.asp Business scheme
They have long had a business model focussed on sustainability and green credentials, switching to organic farming some year back. Since then the unit has diversified and become the 2nd largest tourist attraction in Dumfries and Galloway and manufacturer of a regionally renowned ice cream brand ‘Cream of Galloway’. Alongside its farming and dairy manufacturing businesses it has developed an expanse of children friendly adventures activities from treetop walkways, high slides, go karts and cycleways . It has repopulated, instigated forest management and expanded asmall ancient woodland by planting over 40,000 native broadleaf trees around our nature trails and cycle tracks. These trees are now developing into fully-fledged young forests, extending their range by naturally re-seeding themselves and providing nesting places for around 60 species of native and migrant birds.
Environmental responsibility is something they take very seriously and this extends to consumption of energy and waste management. The households on the farm have all been thoroughly insulated to reduce heating costs, as has the Burger Barn eating area at the visitor centre. They focus on recycling as much material as possible, including aluminium cans, paper, cardboard and plastic. However the realised the best way to increase the sustainability of energy consumption is to use energy from renewable resources. Scotland is not blessed with the sunniest climate in the world, however solar panels have provided roughly 50% of the water heating costs in the farm households and look set to repay their installation costs within the next few years.
On top of solar panels the business leased to Gatehouse of Fleet's land for a community wind turbine at Cream o' Galloway, this electricity is bought by the farm, a unique joint venture providing surety of supply to the farm. The 32m turbine generates electricity whenever the wind rises above 12.5 mph and the output data-logged continuously (accessible via the web). The single turbine provides a quarter of all electricity requirements on the site. Because it is owned by the local community, proceeds go to community projects such as the upkeep of the town hall. This is a fruitful relationship which will continue for the coming decades.
Cream of Galloway’s is ambitious in its renewable energy projects:
It has developed a huge A/D digester to produce methane to help meet it requirement for gas for heating (Methanogenesis http://www.biogas-info.co.uk/index.php/what-is-anaerobic-digestion.html). This unit is presently in testing mode, allowing calibration of the feedstock (slurry and biomass) and is operating at the mesophilic range.
Still to be completed - the heating of the Burger Barn using ground-source heat pumps. They have installed 600m of underground piping beneath the cycle tracks through which they circulate water which will be warmed by this constant ground temperature. The heat from the water will then be pumped into the under-floor heating system inside the Burger Barn keeping it comfortably warm even on chilly autumn days. This is a work in progress at the moment but it is envisaged being completed in the near future.
During April’s Hungarian Study visit the VIP’s enjoyed an afternoon as guests of the management who demonstrated the operations of the high welfare farm, sustainable practices and their commitment to renewables.