Food and drink

A new Action Plan for organic food and farming in Scotland from 2016 to 2020 has been launched.

"Organic Ambitions: Scotland’s Organic Action Plan 2016 – 2020" aims to help organic food and farming build a more sustainable future, regenerate the rural economy and conserve biodiversity and natural resources.

The Action Plan identifies the key challenges facing the development of Scottish organic food and the actions required to address them.

Over 100 people from across rural Perthshire braved the snow and ice to attend the launch of the Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER programme on 14 January. 

After a spot of networking at the various stands the meeting commenced with the Local Action Group Chair, with Jackie Brierton speaking passionately about the opportunities that the Local Development Strategy offers in terms of stronger networking, collaboration, a well connected sustainable local economy with communities coming together.

A public consultation on a strategy to protect pollinating insects in Scotland is currently being run by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Scotland’s pollinators include the honey bee, bumble bees, solitary bees, wasps, hoverflies, other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths. There are concerns that environmental pressures are leading to declines in the number, diversity and geographic range of pollinators.

The Gathering 2016

The Gathering is Scotland’s largest event for charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations. It’s free and everyone’s welcome.

Organised every year by SCVO, it’s a place for people working in the third sector to network, showcase what they do and learn from each other. It’s also a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in finding out more about the third sector to come along and get involved. There’s a bustling exhibition and marketplace with over 100 exhibitors, and a packed programme featuring more than 60 workshops, seminars and training sessions.

Scottish Smallholding and Grower Festival 2016

Now in it's fifth year, the Festival has something for everyone interested in smallholding in Scotland. With shows of sheep, goats, pigs and poultry and waterfowl and cattle breed societies, and with a focus on rare and traditional breeds, it's a great place to meet breeders and make connections. There's also trade stands and craft exhibitors; a Garden, Craft and Food competition; rural skills demonstrations and a programme of fifteen talks to inform, inspire and educate.

Smallholding Scotland Conference 2016

Featuring six sessions delivered by experts in their field, it's a great opportunity to meet like-minded people, learn something new and enjoy a bit of smallholder chat and socialising before the days get longer and outdoor tasks start to take priority.

Tickets only available online at £25 each, includes lunch, refreshments and delegate pack.

The 2016 BBC Food & Farming Awards are now open for entries until 24 January.

BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme is calling on people across the UK to nominate their favourite producers, workplace cooks, local markets and food heroes for the awards.

This year, the nine award categories are:

SACCAP Potato Conference

This year's SACCAP Potato Conference runs under the theme the new six Ps: Promote Potatoes with Passion and Produce Potatoes to Perfection.

As usual the event will tackle the most relevant topics facing potato producers today with Scotland’s top experts presenting on a range of areas with a focus on how to promote potatoes to consumers as they face ever expanding choices on the supermarket shelves.

The event will also see the presentation of the prize to the SRUC Elmwood student who has invented the most innovative recipe for potatoes.

SAOS Members' Day and Conference: shaping future agriculture through cooperation

For their 2016 conference, SAOS are continuing with the format of two morning forum workshops. They expect this year’s topics to prove popular as SAOS’ Jim Booth will be joined by Angela Tregear and Sarah Cooper of Edinburgh University Business School to discuss the results of a study of four marketing co-ops and the role co-ops play in supporting KT/learning amongst their members. The other forum, hosted by their next generation team members, with guest speakers, examines why we sometimes criticise, rather than celebrate, business expansion and success, assuming “they just got lucky”.

Second Highland Haggis Festival

A two day Festival over the weekend of the 16th to 17th April 2016.

Venues include the local village halls, Nevis Range ski centre, local restaurants and the village primary school.