Nourish Scotland - Making a Living from Local Food

Name of organisation/business: 
Nourish Scotland
Scottish Rural Development Programme priority: 
Enhancing the rural economy
Olga Bloemen Education & Outreach Officer 0131 226 1497 Address: Summerhall 1 Summerhall Place Edinburgh EH9 1PL

Summary of Project

Nourish Scotland is a non-governmental organisation working for a fairer, more sustainable food system. We’re looking to work with Local Action Groups across Scotland to enable more people to make a living from selling high-quality, sustainable food through short supply chains. Taking a regional approach, we will support aspiring and newly established local food enterprises to:

  • get access to land, loans and grants
  • develop skills in business management, marketing and selling through short food chains
  • cooperate with other businesses and learn from more experienced entrepreneurs.

More information

Nourish Scotland's distinctive contribution is that we read across food issues – health, inequality and social justice, environmental justice, and the local food economy. We also link different levels, supporting grassroots community efforts and local food production as well as influencing national policy and legislation – and using each to inform the other. We co-founded the Scottish Food Coalition and work in partnership with people and organisations across the board.

We have a vision of a thriving local food economy in Scotland in which we produce more of what we eat and eat more of what we produce. Over the last three years Nourish has been running training and mentoring programmes for people who want to make a living from local food. Over that period more than a dozen new enterprises have set up with our support and we have a growing network of past participants. We administrate a Facebook group for the local food sector, with nearly 350 members and counting, see:

Read more about our 2014 New Farmer Programme and our current Making a Living from Local Food Programme here:

We know there is more demand for this kind of tailored support for the sector – we recently ran a survey to find out who was interested in starting to farm in Scotland and had over a 1,000 responses. (You can find a summary in our report with the Scottish Farm Land Trust:

Over the coming years, we want to build on this experience and work together with LAG’s to strengthen and develop regional networks in Scotland to bring together local food entrepreneurs for mutual support as well as to provide dedicated mentoring and business skills training.

Our main target group are new entrants and small-scale, organic producers and ‘simple processing businesses’ with a high local food content such as bakeries, dairies and charcuterie. This includes the community food sector, cooperative models and social enterprises.

Each regional network will work with existing local initiatives and organisations to:
• train up and support established local food entrepreneurs to offer mentoring to new businesses;
• run workshops and training programmes in business skills as well as learning visits to farms and enterprises;
• facilitate networking events for the sector and peer-to-peer support structures;
• ‘broker’ access to land, grants and patient loans for new entrants.

The project will facilitate cooperation within and between the regional networks –building a stronger local food movement in Scotland as a whole.

What we are looking for in partners

We want to work with Local Action Groups across Scotland. In the longer-term, we are keen to add an international dimension to this project too.

We are looking forward to hearing from you - don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to talk more about this project idea.