Dumfries and Galloway Food and Drink Forum, the regional food group that aims to grow a thriving food and drink network for Dumfries and Galloway, has secured funding to champion local produce.
The group, which is also supported by Food and Drink Federation Scotland and Developing the Young Workforce Dumfries and Galloway, is receiving the funding from industry leadership body, Scotland Food and Drink. It is part of a new national £250k fund, supported by the Scottish Government, to support the ongoing development of Scotland's regional food groups.
Over the next 12 months, Dumfries and Galloway Food and Drink Forum aims to strengthen and develop food and drink businesses in the local area, delivering on strategic projects to provide locally available, affordable food from the region that is underpinned by the circular economy at every step.
The South of Scotland region is home to food and drink producers of all shapes and sizes and its dairy, beef and seafood is highly regarded in top restaurants across the country.
The fund will benefit 15 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 Dumfries & Galloway Food and Drink Forum, 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.
Ruaridh Hesketh, Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Food and Drink Forum, said, 'Covid- 19 has had a profound impact on Dumfries and Galloway's food and drink and tourism industries and we are very aware of the constant challenges faced by businesses across the region.
'Now, more than ever, it is important to support our food and drink and tourism businesses to ensure visitors to the region get the very best of what Dumfries and Galloway has to offer.'
'The funding from Scotland Food & Drink will help us do just that, driving our food story as part of the wider South of Scotland context and building demand for sustainable food tourism.'
Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, said, 'Regional food groups like Dumfries & Galloway Food and Drink Forum 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.
'With a combination of both long- established groups, those which are more recently formed, and some which are brand new, Scotland's diverse mix of regional food groups all have energy, ambition and a commitment to championing their areas.
'With this new funding, our aim is to build a strong network of groups and give them the recognition and backing they deserve.' Supporting regional food groups is a key pillar in Scotland Food & Drink's UK Market Development 'Home Advantage' Strategy, which aims to achieve £17bn turnover from food and drink sales within the UK by 2030.
The 15 regional food groups being supported by the new funding are:
Appetite for Angus
Arran's Food Journey
Ayrshire Food Network
Dumfries & Galloway Food and Drink Forum
Discover Inverclyde's Food and Drink
Eat Drink Hebrides
East Lothian Food & Drink
Food from Argyll
Food from Fife
Forth Valley Food & Drink Network
North East Scotland Food & Drink Network
Orkney Food & Drink
Perth & Kinross Food Tourism Group
Shetland Food & Drink