“Post COVID-19, we should support our local businesses as they have supported us during the pandemic.”
Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead for Economic Growth, is calling for residents to shop local at every opportunity and make the most of locally sourced produce to help kick-start the local economy.
“With lockdown in place,” continued Councillor Redman, “our food and drink producers had to change the way they did business – often in imaginative ways. Hot food businesses made a shift towards delivery to customers. Some businesses have set up new digital platforms to allow customers to order on line while others have provided food to front line workers and people who are considered to be vulnerable. It was also good to see that some of our local whisky and gin producers started to manufacture and distribute hand sanitisers when it ran out in shops.
“This is community spirit at its very best. It is my sincere hope that as consumers we choose to benefit from the quality of food and excellence of service we get from our local shops as the country moves into recovery.”
One example to highlight is Food From Argyll (FFA), a group of local producers who co-operate to bring good food to their customers, operates two food hubs in Oban and Dunoon. FFA’s data shows that the demand for sustainable local products – from fresh fish and meat to dairy and veg – has shown a strong rise during last four months. This has been helped by the introduction of a home delivery option, as well as their traditional collection system.
These hubs act as FFA sales platforms and received seed funding from Argyll and Bute Council, through its Economic Growth team, to set up. Council funding has also enabled FFA to promote local businesses and produce nationally at trade exhibitions.
Many of our communities have also have started ‘grow your own’ initiatives, such as community gardens etc, which have provided local residents with fresh produce during the pandemic. This is supported by the council’s Community Food Growing Strategy that was recently approved by the council: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/sites/default/files/cfgstrategy.pdf