Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead launches new campaign and first ‘Scottish Farm Shop Month’

A new campaign to encourage people to support their local farm shop has been officially launched today by Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment.

The First Stop Farm Shop campaign, funded by the Community Food Fund, is encouraging Scottish customers to make their local farm shop their first port of call when food shopping – before topping up at the supermarket if necessary.

As well as supporting their local farming industry, customers will be able to explore the wealth of local produce available to them.

The campaign has been officially kicked-off by the Cabinet Secretary who also marks today as the start of the first ‘Scottish Farm Shop Month’.

Picture: Chris Watt

Picture: Chris Watt

The First Stop Farm Shop campaign joins the wealth of ongoing activity in 2015 as part of the Year of Food and Drink celebrations.  The campaign focuses on four key themes of Provenance, supporting the Rural Economy, Health and Wellbeing and Education.

The initiative is led by Anna Mitchell and Andrew Booth from the Scottish Farm Shops Business Club and both also run their own successful farm shops.  Anna runs Castleton Farm Shop in Laurencekirk and Andrew runs The Store in Ellon.

A brand new First Stop Farm Shop website has also been launched featuring more information on the initiative, delicious recipes and profiles on farm shops participating in the project.

Aiming to encourage more people to make small changes to their grocery shopping habits by visiting their local farm shop, the first ‘Scottish Farm Shop Month’ comes at a particularly difficult time for the farming industry.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, said: “The First Stop Farm Shop campaign is a great way to encourage people to support their local farmers and really take advantage of the terrific selection of produce they have available to them – straight from the farm gate.

“Scotland has a fantastic natural larder, with some of the freshest, tastiest, most sought after produce in the world. There are almost 140 farm shops across Scotland, offering everything from fresh eggs, succulent Scotch lamb and beef, delicious dairy produce and so much more. For those lucky enough to live near a farm shop, I would encourage them to make it their first port of call and support their local farmers.”

Anna Mitchell said: “It’s a difficult time for farmers across the UK at the moment.  We want to encourage local customers to think local and show their support to the Scottish farming industry by shopping in a local farm shop before topping up in the supermarket.

“Scotland produces some of the best food and drink in the world and we want to showcase the amazing food and drink we have right on our doorstep.

“We already have over 30 farm shops from across Scotland signed up to the First Stop Farm Shop campaign.  From Dumfries to Banchory, there are a huge number of family-run shops which offer customers some of the freshest food around.

“We’re not asking people to do their entire weekly shop in a farm shop, just to make small changes to their shopping habits and to visit a local farm shop first before going to the supermarket.

“We believe many people will be surprised at the wealth of fantastic seasonal produce available which is fresher than what they can find in their local Tesco, Morrisons, Asda or Sainsburys.”

• Log onto www.firststopfarmshop.co.uk for more information on how to be part of the campaign.    

Twitter: @1ststopfarmshop

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