In 2016, we ran a new programme, Making a Living from Local Food, offering free mentoring and peer-to-peer-support to aspiring and recently established local food entrepreneurs from across Scotland. It was a diverse bunch of new entrant farmers, crofters, processors, bakers, distributors and caterers. This week, we’ll be sharing what some of the participants have been up to on our blog. Second in the series is Roz Corbett, who is setting up Tayside Growers Coop in Perthshire. Her mentor was Heather Anderson, co-owner of Whitmuir The Organic Place.
When did you start?
We’re still in the setting-up stage, we’ve been developing our plans since February 2016.
What’s your dream? Where do you want your business to be in 5 years?
We would like to have established a CSA with 50-100 members, and also be selling to local businesses directly. We hope to have a strong customer base and also be a hub for local community volunteering and training events of all kinds. Our business will mainly focus on fruit, vegetables and herbs, but we plan to build this up to also include eggs, meat, honey, and other products if there is demand in the local area.
What motivates you to set up this business?
There are a number of key motivations:
- wanting to be working outdoors and practically involved in food growing
- wanting to work cooperatively to share the responsibilities of a farming business, and finding a group of like-minded people to do that with
- wanting to create a small scale business that shows that farming ecologically can be successful
- understanding the many challenges and opportunities in our current farming system – environmental degradation, climate change, ageing population of farmers.
How have you developed your business this year?
We’ve done a lot of consultation with similar businesses, the local community and local businesses and developed a crop plan and detailed 5 year cash flow.
How has the coaching programme helped you with this?
I wasn’t as involved as I would have liked to have been for various reasons. However, I felt inspired by the variety of people and their backgrounds and to learn what motivated and interested them to get involved in the food system. It gave me hope that young people are interested in getting involved in food and do feel passionate enough to commit themselves to some really great projects. Heather was also really useful to talk to, and gave me some great advice. She asked some tricky questions, which gave me the opportunity to find and interrogate my answers in a non-challenging way. She also gave some really useful prompts and info in relation to the SRDP system of payments and registration which I was not so familiar with – this was really useful as it is quite a maze to trudge through.
What have you enjoyed?
Hearing other people’s plans, ideas and projects.
What have you learned?
Lots of technical bits and pieces. Mainly though how to communicate our plans better.
What are your next steps going forward?
Get funding, start growing!
Find out more:
No website as yet – planned for January/Feb 2017.
Photo credits: Clem Sandison, Open Jar Collective.
Making a Living from Local Food is kindly funded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund.