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Making a Living from Local Food

Making a Living from Local Food

Nourish New Farmer Programme 2014, Photo by Andy MacDonald


A programme offering mentoring and peer-to-peer-support to aspiring and recently established local food entrepreneurs from across Scotland.


How does it work?


  • The programme is designed to offer tailored support to participants, wherever they’re at with their local food enterprise.
  • Participants are part of a peer group of 5-7 participants in roughly the same area, and matched with one mentor. This year’s mentors are Rob Davidson from The Cyrenians Farm near Edinburgh, Howard Wilkinson from the Ayrshire Food Network in Ayrshire and Jo Hunt from Knockfarrel Produce in the Inverness area.
  • Participants spend 5 one-to-one hours with their personal mentor over the course of the programme (phone/skype/in person) and they can decide when.
  • Over the course of the programme, participants meet 5 times with their peer group for a 3-hour long session facilitated by their mentor. In these sessions they’ll explore together particular themes and challenges in developing/running their businesses. Where possible, these sessions will be hosted in turns by the participants at their own farms/businesses, to maximise learning.
  • Participants are invited to attend 3 whole-group events hosted at farms across Scotland: 1) the opening session on Thursday the 29th of June  2) a networking event in October which is also open to programme alumni/other local food producers 3) the closing session in December.
  • Participants have access to various resources and materials online and to the Facebook group to connect with other local food producers.

The programme is flexible and self-led: it’s up to the participants to make the most of the mentoring and peer-learning opportunities provided. The programme facilitates the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences but is not a training programme as such.



We are now in our second year of the programme: our current cohort started in Spring 2017 and will benefit from this support until the end of Dec 2017. We’ll open applications for the third year of the programme early 2018.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, or if you want to express interest for next year’s programme. You can e-mail the programme coordinator Miesbeth Knottenbelt at localfood @ or call the Nourish Office.


How much?


Participants contribute £120 towards the programme costs. If they are or become a Nourish member, they’ll receive a discount of £20. Making a Living from Local Food is kindly funded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund.


Making a Living from Local Food 2017

Our current 2017 cohort has 14 applications, bringing together 22 participants with a good spread of experience. Some are well established businesses, others are starting out; there is a good gender balance; and our participants are from right across Scotland: from Mull, Skye and Kyle of Lochalsh in the West, to Aberdeen and Ballater in the East; from Tain up North, to Kircudbright in the South.

Together they run a range of businesses: there are growers of mushrooms, flowers, soft fruit, flowers, herbs, orchards, teas and veg; livestock raisers (cattle, sheep, hens and pork); bakers and various other food processors (meats, pickles, jams, herbs and teas).

We had a successful full-day meeting at Comrie, Perthshire, where everybody met each other and their mentors for the first time. We shared a potluck lunch and were shown around Tomnah’a market garden where Sam and Judith told us about their wedding flowers and box-scheme business.  Read more about the event here.

Our second all-group meeting will be in October 2017 at Falkland Centre for Stewardship in Fife and will be a larger event with stalls, speakers, tours, and an evening dinner. This meeting will be open to other local food entrepreneurs in Scotland, for wider networking. You can find more information and sign up here.

You can read about the first year of the programme and the participants here.

You can read more about the 2014 Nourish New Farmer Programme here.


Further resources for newly established local food entrepreneurs

Besides supporting participants individually, Nourish aims to build a stronger network of aspiring local sustainable food entrepreneurs in Scotland:

  • You can connect with other food producers through this Nourish Facebook group
  • We’ve put together a range of resources and materials on establishing and running a local food business in Scotland as well as a list of other support networks.

All enquiries about this programme: localfood @


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