When seeking property, location location location is drilled into us. Now, in our new world, it is local being similarly touted. Of course there are those of us who have followed this mantra all their lives but we also know it is not that simple.
What about nearby logistic hubs some businesses dare to count as ‘local sourcing?’ Yes, it happens. What about intensively reared pork on the doorstep? Or the bread factory making faux sourdough? How local is local? I am deliberately being thought provoking. No wonder the average consumer is confused. Trying their best, picking their way through the minefield! Add in the hidden persuaders with mighty advertising budgets, fictional farm labelling in supermarkets and we have a pretty distorted system.
For us, local is important but only if it is ethically produced to high welfare standards, environmentally sustainable, healthy and not ultra-processed – and I know Scottish Food Guide members feel the same. Local produce that meets these criteria is of incredible value to communities and usually undervalued by the powers that be. They provide jobs and contribute to the local economy; assist rural population retention and consequently doctors’ surgeries, high streets, schools, often supporting youth football teams too. In cities, cafes and delis provide hubs for humanity to gather and never feel alone, to eat well and stay well. A healthy food system is key to our very survival and we should all be more keenly aware of this than ever.
But many of these producers, farmers, chefs and crafts-folk do not fit governmental tick boxes and do not benefit from adequate (or any) financial support. They are fighting for survival but never underestimate our force. In the words of Carlo Petrini, They are giants but we are millions (well nearly!). We stick together and support each other as we have done for many years, irrespective of initiatives and campaigns, and we shall continue to do so.
With Christmas around the corner we are all working together to ensure every breath supports our best local produce, cooks and chefs, supplying food for the table, hampers for our friends and a range of incredible edibles that make wonderful presents…so let’s all shout out loud and make sure our friends, colleagues, children’s teachers and whole communities shop with us!
Last but not least, a little tale from SFG HQ. Ever since we added our food studio five years ago we have longed for some seriously cosy curtains to shut out winter’s darkness. Spending more time at home, what better time to stay warm? A dear friend passed away in November, leaving me a gift, so we decided now was the time. You only regret what you don’t do so bearing in mind supporting communities and shopping local, we had set our heart on Harris Tweed, beautiful natural fabrics handmade in Scotland. She would be happy with our choice and we shall always remember her kindness.
Picture a Perthshire forest in autumn, brimming with gold and mustards, russets and rich reds, intertwined with threads of evergreen and moss and you have just described our Harris Tweed, on a loom somewhere on Lewis as I write! We selected the fabric on the web from a gifted young designer, Miriam, pictured here weaving our actual tweed. Look out on my Instagram – they are due to arrive any day now.
I shall write again before Christmas but until then… #supportingeachother #staysafe