Using existing land and buildings in creative new ways is a great form of recycling, which helps not only communities but the environment too. Balcaskie Estate in the East Neuk of Fife did just that when they repurposed an existing barn, turning it from an infrequently used shed into the Bowhouse Market, a thriving indoor market space where local producers can come together with local customers – with even street food and live music!
Since 2016, Bowhouse Market, based on the outskirts of St Monans, has been hosting farm plots, renting out small production units to local craftspeople, and holding regular market weekends. It is now home to eight small producers, a butchery, brewery, café, over 20 regular local market traders, and attracts around 5,000 visitors to its market weekend each month. All this from an empty barn!
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, a ‘click and collect’ service was also launched from the barn – Bowhouse Link – continuing to make use of the space during a challenging time, enabling customers to continue supporting local business through an innovative ‘click and collect’ service, which has since grown to include delivery with the local area.
Reinventing an underused barn and turning it into a thriving indoor marketplace has had many benefits for the community and for the environment – providing employment, connecting local producers with local consumers, shortening the local food chain, and providing a social space to meet and shop.
Check out Susie Anderson of East Coast Cured in the video above talking about the importance of land being used in innovative new ways, the way Balcaskie Estate has done with Bowhouse Market, to support local businesses and their communities.
Take a look at the empty buildings in your area – with a little bit of imagination, what could your community do to bring them back to life?