Over twenty different local food businesses gathered in Made in Stirling on November 12th to discuss the idea of a Local Food Business Network for the Stirling region. Attendees were from a variety of sectors within local food - production, processing, retail, and hospitality - as well as a variety of different sizes, stages and set-ups, including social enterprises and charities.
The event, organised by the Local Food & Drink Coordinator, provided an opportunity for local food businesses to meet, hear from a successful local food business network (Food From Fife), and explore the potential of a collaborative group for local food businesses here in Stirling.
The attendees heard from Martha Bryce, who outlined her experiences of 'Food From Fife' - a member-led local food business network. Food From Fife supports local food producers, processors and providers to collectively promote food from the Fife region - as well as offering training, meet the buyer events, and a chance to network.
In terms of exploring a Local Food Business Network for the region, the attendees worked in groups to brainstorm around the potential aims and activities of a Network, as well as flagging concerns. A summary of these discussions can be found below:
As an outcome of this meeting, the Local Food & Drink Coordinator developed a bid for the Connect Local Regional Food Fund. The funding bid is for seed funding for the Network to develop and formalise itself over the next year - including engaging with other food businesses, detemining aims and structure, and deciding and implementing early actions. The outcome of the funding bid should be known by the end of January 2020.
The next steps for the fledgling Network, and the outcome of the funding bid, will be discussed at the next Local Food Business Meeting in late January. If you're a local food business interested in finding out more, please come along. Or, contact the Local Food & Drink Coordinator, Ashley Robinson (Robinsona @ stirling.gov.uk) for more info.
The next Local Food Business Meeting will be held on January 28th, at the lesser hall in the Albert Halls - from 13:00 - 15:30.