Food and drink

Local food and drink initatives across the country have been awarded grants from the second round of the Regional Food Fund.

Grants totalling £95,700 have been awarded to 21 projects including a harvest food festival in Castle Douglas, an Ethical Farming Conference to take place in Dumfries and Galloway and a Streetfood Zone at the Stranraer Oyster Festival.

Scottish Rural Awards are delighted to announce the finalists in the fifth annual awards.

A set of 11 categories were open for nominations between July and October, with over 250 made nominations in total.

The Scottish Rural Network (SRN) recently hosted a visit from a group of Estonian farmers and academics which saw them visiting projects and businesses across western and central Scotland, including Mull.

The SRN put together a programme of visits for the group based on their interests, predominantly sheep farming and slaughterhouses, as the group are in the process of setting up an abattoir on the Estonian island of Muhu.

Short videos from Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER showcase some of the inspiring projects that have been supported by the programme.

The videos highlight the Highland Safari, Scottish Tea Factory, Loch Earn Railway Path and Strathearn Cider Company projects.

Last week the Scottish Rural Network (SRN) hosted a visit from a group of 10 Danish Local Action Group (LAG) members from the Jammerbugt-Vesthimmerland region who wanted to visit LEADER funded projects in Scotland. They were specifically interested in the food development and sustainable growth fields and wanted an insight into projects that have been successful in this area, in particular any challenges they have faced/overcome and any learning or networking they could glean from this experience.

There is still time to book your spot on one of four exciting free project visits taking place as part of the Scottish Rural Parliament 2018 in Stranraer.​

On 14 November you can join groups on the following project visits:

Last week’s Forth Valley Food Fest inspired thousands of locals and tourists to reconnect with the land; from picking pumpkins in Arnprior and milking goats in Port of Menteith, to community garden tours at the University and shopping for local produce at farmers’ markets.

A food growing programme which donates fresh fruit and vegetables to the Clydesdale Food Bank celebrated a successful harvest with a big thank you lunch for local producers at Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) last week.

Cork chef, Jack Crotty, known locally as ‘The Rocket Man’, has come to the rescue of Stirling’s online food market with a new e-commerce platform, NeighbourFood.

In a new initiative by the Scottish Government, young people will have the chance to learn where their food comes from, how it gets from farm to fork, and raise their awareness of Scotland’s rural economy.

The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, Mairi Gougeon, recently attended West Craigie Farm near Queensferry with pupils from Queensferry Primary School. She said: