Children feeding lambs

Crofting Connections

Crofting Connections ~ Ceanglaichean Croitearachd

Learning about crofting past, present and future, and helping schools to deliver the Curriculum for Excellence.

Crofting Connections is a programme of activities and events that will inspire over 1,000 young people aged 5-16 living in remote rural communities throughout the Highlands & Islands about crofting past, present and future. They will learn traditional skills from crofters, create their own climate-friendly food-growing projects, and help safeguard the history, culture and heritage associated with their crofting communities.

Why the project is needed:

Crofting is Scotland’s indigenous system of small-scale subsistence farming that has supported families in some of the remotest parts of the Highlands & Islands for centuries.

Crofting has many benefits. It keeps communities alive, enables people to live and work in isolated areas, and helps keep rural schools and other vital public services operating. Crofters traditionally use low intensity management techniques and limited amounts of chemical fertilisers, weed killers and insect sprays, which helps to encourage wildlife and create unique landscapes and habitats. Crofting also sustains a rich cultural heritage reflected in its legacy of language, music, song, dance, poetry, storytelling and literature.

However, crofting faces major challenges in the 21st century. The average age of crofters is high, and many crofting practices, traditions and memories of a bygone age are in danger of disappearing. If crofting is to survive, both as a sustainable and productive use of land and as a living culture, young people must be encouraged to take up crofting.

Crofting Connections is modelled on a highly successful pilot to celebrate crofting in Year of Highland Culture 2007. A report of the pilot by Health Promoting Schools (now part of Learning & Teaching Scotland) demonstrated that in learning from crofters, young people developed a sense of belonging to the land and the community, whilst older people enjoyed passing on their knowledge and skills.

Young people also grew enthusiastic about the food production skills, traditions and crafts associated with crofting, and became more confident individuals with increased knowledge and pride in their heritage. Many also expressed an intention to live and work in their communities when they completed their education. Crofting Connection’s key outcomes for young people will be increased:

o Desire to live and work in their crofting communities.
o Ability to keep crofting alive in the 21st century for the benefit of rural communities and the environment.
o Development in the curriculum’s four key capacities for education successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.
o Understanding of the need for environmentally-friendly and healthy food based on low carbon principles.

For more information about Crofting Connections please see www.croftingconnections.com

To view the Crofting Connections Flyer please click here:

Crofting Connections Flyer.pdf