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Food from Argyll has secured funding to champion local produce.
The group, which is made up of a diverse group of 29 food producers growing a thriving food and drink network for the area, is receiving the funding from
industry leadership body Scotland Food & Drink as part of a new national £250,000 fund, supported by the Scottish Government.
Founded in 2007, Food from Argyll has helped its members build their businesses, encouraged start-ups, opened its own café based at the CalMac ferry terminal and provided catering on two sites in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games in 2014, hosted a major conference on Food Tourism held in Oban in 2015 and catered at major events nationwide including International rugby fixtures at Murrayfield
The group works closely with Argyll & The Isles Tourism Co-operative and is currently working on developing food tourism within Argyll plus taste trails for visitors among other projects.
Its other partners include the Scottish Tourism Alliance with project support
from Argyll & Bute Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Virginia Sumsion who is group co-ordinator at Food from Argyll, said: ‘The geography of Argyll and the type of land and sea it covers suits small to medium food producers and enables companies to develop their businesses using traditional farming methods as well as innovative ideas and products. That natural advantage, teamed with our collaborative approach to championing the area’s produce are a recipe for success.
‘Building lifestyles and communities is as important to local producers as profit but they need to be profitable to survive and grow and need the support of their customers and the statutory bodies.
‘Providing employment, boosting tourism and being part of local communities are all vital to the sustainability of the area. With the new funding from Scotland Food & Drink, we hope to build on those successes and showcase the best food and drink Argyll has to offer.’
As a coastal region, Argyll is famed for its seafood and smoked salmon but it also boasts some of country’s best dairy, beef and lamb as well as a growing group of entrepreneurial producers baking, roasting, curing, smoking and growing a wide range of ingredients.
The fund will benefit 13 other groups across the country by resourcing coordinator posts and will include match-funding from partners including local authorities. It aims to create an active network of regional ambassadors who work in conjunction with local authorities to promote regional food and drink and tourism strategies.
Regional food groups like Food from Argyll plan and deliver projects such as increasing consumption and supply of local produce; upskilling food and drink businesses; hosting events; improving digital developments and e-commerce with local companies and, crucially, developing food and drink tourism.
Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food & Drink, said: ‘Regional food groups like Food from Argyll have a pivotal role to play in the successful growth and development of our country’s food, drink and food tourism sectors, especially in the recovery from Covid-19.’