Yep. I think, from my own personal point of view, and most people’s point of view, being as self-sufficient as you can in almost everything, or as much as you can, should I say, is not only the right way to go but it’s the cheapest way to go and often ... Well it’s not always the right way to go but things like growing hay here, it can be done because it was done years ago and the weather hasn’t changed that much. The machinery’s here or can be here. You know, we need a bit more working out. We need a lot of fencing, we need a lot of planning. But our hay at the moment is coming from the East Coast, it’s coming from Aberdeenshire and Perth and it has to be a bit more environmentally sound. We’re not talking organic hay either that we’re buying in or we’re gonna grow. I’d love it to be organic. I mean, this croft is organic but there’s lots of people that aren’t and if there’s a communal purchase, there will be more people who’re not organic than are and therefore they will win out, which is fine, and I’ll still be buying non-organic hay because A: I couldn’t afford organic and B: I won’t get it. So it has to be more environmentally sound to do things yourself, I think. It’s the same with growing ... We’ve talked about trying to finish off cattle ourself but the regulations are very complicated, if not impossible, for somewhere like here. So I think the best we can do is become as self-sufficient as we can in the crofts, both for food for people, for the crofters and for the island as a whole, and for the cattle and the stuff we are producing, you know, the animals that we’re sending to market. So I’m hopeful that will happen. It may be pure economics that make it happen but also, you’re right. There is a lot of feeling of being ... even people who, I think, before we started the Green Challenge, you wouldn’t have said were that environmentally conscious became much more so during the whole process of the Challenge and it became like a competition. Well, it was a competition I suppose but, you know, somebody would do something or say ... somebody would leave their car or van running outside the shop and then somebody would go in and see that they were sitting there with a cup of coffee and see that they’d been there for ten minutes and say: “Hoy, you should go out there and turn that off!” and often the reason was that it didn’t start again and needed a hill but, you know, people would mention. Because before folk wouldn’t.

  • Neil Robertson
Thursday 4th February 2010