Funding boosts local food and drink producers

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It is clear from the hundreds of people pouring through the door at The Kintyre Larder’s opening that local produce tickles our taste buds.

And thanks to a new £250,000 initiative supporting projects that celebrate and promote locally-sourced and produced food and drink, more people than ever can be involved.

Applications are being accepted by the Regional Food Fund, a collaboration between the Scottish Government, Connect Local and Scotland Food and Drink, for grants of up to £5,000, which will support collaborative projects in their early stages.

Making the announcement at Scotland’s Food and Drink Excellence Awards in Edinburgh, Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: ‘We’re very fortunate in Scotland to have a food and drink sector that is internationally renowned.

‘It is a major driver in our economy and supports 17,000 businesses, and 115,000 jobs – as well as providing an increasingly important contribution to Scotland’s unique tourist offering.

‘The Scottish Government’s aim is to support the industry’s ambition to double its value to £30 billion by 2030.

‘To do that we’re working with partners to develop new and existing markets, boost innovation and skills, and supporting local producers via business rates exemptions, and schemes like the Regional Food Fund.’

Mr Ewing explained that the grants will support collaborative local projects by providing vital funding when its needed most.

He added: ‘This relatively modest outlay will result in long-term benefits for our regional food industry and the wider economy.’

Ceri Ritchie, Connect Local project manager and sector manager for food and drink at SAC Consulting, commented: ‘The Regional Food Fund will allow for support to Scottish food and drink producers and regional groups and networks, including farm retail and local food events, where traditionally funding can be hard to find.’

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink added: ‘Food and drink is a national success story and it is central to Scotland’s economy, but businesses have told us we need to focus more on our home market.

‘Not only will the Regional Food Fund provide funding to those who normally struggle to find it, but it will provide real benefit to local producers and their communities across the country.

‘I encourage everyone make the most of this opportunity and apply.’

The Kintyre Larder, run by Linda McLean from Kilmaho Farm, stocks a variety of local produce, as well as other items from mostly small-scale producers.

‘Almost everything is Scottish, apart from in this bit,’ Linda said, pointing to some of the more Mediterranean items behind the deli counter. ‘Unless anyone can start growing olives!’

For more on The Kintyre Larder, turn to page three.

The shelves are packed with produce.
The shelves are packed with produce.

Linda McLean with her summer assistant, Cameron Macalister, behind the deli counter. 50_c24kintyrelarder01_linda and cameron

The Kintyre Larder’s shelves are packed with Scottish produce. 50_c24kintyrelarder02_shelves