Kirstie Campbell spent 15 years working as a humanitarian aid worker, including ten years on a mission in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. She first came across seabuckthorn in 2010 as part of a United Nations logistics mission to assist with the floods in Pakistan. Returning home to Scotland in 2013, Kirstie discovered that our native berries – a unique source of nutrition – were being largely overlooked and, in some cases, destroyed. Applying her passion for food security, local solutions and herbal healing, plus her Chemistry degree, she founded social enterprise Seabuckthorn Scotland.

I WAKE UP…

I have a shot of seabuckthorn juice – my morning favourite is the Buck Russian as it really sets me up for the day – and go for a walk down to the beach for a swim before we start our workday.

WORK STARTS…

With a team catch up and planning meeting on the way from the beach to the farm.

A TYPICAL DAY…

Depending on the time of year and the weather, we can be harvesting, bashing or riddling berries – we juice all year round to provide fresh, nutritious seabuckthorn drinks to our customers, and we usually deliver locally in East Lothian and Edinburgh on Mondays and Fridays. 

WHAT INSPIRED ME TO START SEABUCKTHORN SCOTLAND… 

Waste of seabuckthorn in East Lothian. Having spent ten years working on food security issues in the Middle East and North Africa, I hate to see food waste, especially when this berry is so fantastic: both delicious and super nutritious! 

BEST PART OF THE JOB… 

Doing something I love to do. It’s physically challenging as well as mentally stimulating, there is so much to learn about seabuckthorn, and we work with a beautiful community of seabuckthorn-loving folk. Plus, I get to take my dog to work most days! I really enjoy markets where we can share our passion for seabuckthorn with others too. 

AND THE WORST… 

Thorns – all year round! They make enormous splinters which need immediate attention. But it is nothing compared to the hazards of my previous work in war zones, so I can’t complain.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT… 

In my previous life with World Food Programme, helping to coordinate food delivery into Gaza (after Hamas had taken over and the crossing points were all gridlocked) and Misrata (Libya). Our ship was shelled in port, but we still managed to off-load our cargo of food and ambulances and evacuate an injured British journalist and an international team of nurses (and one of their cars) safely back to Malta. In my new career as a forager, life is different, but I enjoy all the new challenges all the same. 

AFTER HOURS…

I enjoy a cold local beer or a seabuckthorn cocktail of an evening – seabuckthorn in a G&T is delicious as a treat. Now COVID is passing; we can finally spend time with family and friends again, which is the best way to relax after a long day.

IN TEN YEARS… 

I would love the people of Scotland to be entirely familiar with seabuckthorn and its wonderful properties. So it can be appreciated as a national treasure rather than the ‘scourge of the links’ or ‘a thorny problem’ by
land managers! 

SEABUCKTHORN SCOTLAND
seabuckthornscotland@gmail.com
seabuckthornscotland.com