Taking Scottish Food To The Next Level

19 Oct

This is rather an unusual header for a post on welshfoodbites, but please don’t think I have gone totally mad, well not totally, maybe just slightly! Just thought you might find the following of interest:

Local food has been given a boost as £2.5 million is made available over three years to support initiatives that put a spotlight on Scotland’s outstanding natural produce. The Scottish Government is working in collaboration with SRUC – Scotland’s Rural College – to set up Think Local, an initiative to deliver targeted support and advice to local food companies, networks and communities. Think Local will include the £1.5 million Community Food Fund, which will deliver funding to a wide range of projects – such as local food marketing, food tourism, farmers markets, food festivals and events.

Plans are also being progressed for the National Food & Drink Forum, a diverse body that will bring together a broad array of experts from industry, health and environment and wider society to advise government on the strategic direction of our approach to food and drink, with a remit to put forward practical solutions.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Here in Scotland we have a fantastic range of fine food and drink right on our doorstep, with more and more Scots realising the excellent quality and taste that local producers deliver. But we can always do more. Think Local will help champion local food, by supporting projects and events across Scotland. With the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and a second Homecoming celebration in 2014, we have a great opportunity to showcase Scotland to the world. Food & drink will be an integral part to that and I want every business – from the largest to the smallest – to have the opportunity to take part. That’s what the Community Food Fund will aim to achieve. Scotland has made great strides over the past five years in how our food and drink is perceived, backed up by soaring exports. But I want more Scots to have access to delicious and nutritious local food, which is a particular challenge during these tough economic times. This is one issue I intend to put to the National Food & Drink Forum. Scotland is blessed by natural resources – in terms of our water, land and people, but for our food and drink industry to continue to be successful we also to face up to the challenges. That includes the climate challenge, the diet challenge and the economic challenge. The Forum will bring together a diverse range of individuals to think ahead on these key issues and ensure we are best positioned for the future. Taking in views from the industry, health and environment sectors and wider society, the National Food & Drink Forum will explore these issues and offer up practical solutions. I look forward to setting out full details about the new Forum later this year.”

David Lamb, Head of Food and Drink at SRUC, said: “Think Local builds on the excellent work already delivered in the development of local food. It brings together strands which have looked to develop the sector of local and speciality food from farms shops and farmers markets through to the regional networks which are enhancing Scotland’s reputation for quality food. We want to see that develop, to create a local food and drink landscape across Scotland, including tourism and events. This is the mechanism to make that happen.”

Alan Stevenson, Development Director at the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, who will be involved in the development of Think Local, added: “We’re delighted to be a part of this joined up approach across Scotland to help develop local and regional food opportunities. It brings together all the expertise available in Scotland to drive forward the growth of local foods through Think Local. We know the industry and Government partnership model works extremely well, as has proved the case in the delivery of the successful Scottish Farmers Markets Partnership project, which included several of the key players in this exciting new initiative.”

Related information

Think Local will build on food engagement work of the Scottish Government and SRUC and will include collaboration with Scotland Food and Drink, the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, the Scottish Association of Farmers Markets, and the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association.

The Think Local remit will include developing new local food networks, expanding Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, creating signature food events for Homecoming Scotland, and providing new support for farmer’s markets. Funding for the operations of Think Local will be supported by £1 million from the Scottish Government.

The £1.5 million Community Food Fund will be delivered over three years. The Community Food Fund will be available to:

  • Support development of local food networks
  • Support communities to run local food events
  • Target specifically communities attempting to tackle deprivation
  • Deliver training and development
  • Develop farmer’s markets and farm retail opportunities
  • Help enhance food tourism

The membership and full remit of the National Food & Drink Forum will be set out in the coming months. It’s envisaged that the Forum will have a wide ranging membership, covering disciplines such as health and environment as well as the food and drink industry, and focus each year on a specific set of issues.

Well that sounds positive and pro-active doesn’t it? A spend of £1.5m is a fair amount, so I’ll be interested to get feedback when this initiative has ended. £1.5m, but I wonder how many of you recall FBA getting £800k but only had to ‘look at’ farmers’ markets, farm shops and box schemes. Sadly my feedback on what that £800k achieved for Wales has not been positive. Maybe the Scottish pound goes further and gets better value for money than we can achieve here in Wales with our Welsh pounds!




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  1. quinn

    October 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    The more support to the food communities can increase the food productions to reach the requirements.

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