New fellowship launched to support small North Highlands farms and make local food more widely available

November 3, 2023

A new Fellowship has been launched, providing funding for research into supporting the viability and sustainability of crofts and small farms in the North Highlands.

The project seeks to investigate the potential of small to medium sized regenerative farmers to work at a scale that would allow them to supply to local hotels and restaurants, local shops and supermarkets.

To achieve a transition to more sustainable and regenerative farming practises, there’s an understanding that intensive farming systems need to change. Developing the work of producers that are currently not large enough to be part of the global food system may offer the potential to form a part of this. This project will examine the ways this can be done, whether this is increasing a small farm’s food outputs, increasing the quality of their produce so that it’s not simply treated as a commodity, or improving routes to local and regional markets.

North Highland Initiative (NHI) is delighted to support The Ag of the Middle Fellowship alongside the Food Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC), Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF), Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutions (SEFARI) and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS).

Judith Batchelar of NHI said: “This is an exciting opportunity to understand and support the development of sustainable farming and food systems in our region. At NHI, we’ve long worked to develop sustainable communities and landscapes across the North Highlands through our Mey Selections range of products and so this Fellowship is close to our heart. We’ve worked with local farmers for the last 18 years and understand the importance of building upon traditions and playing to their strengths. This project offers the potential to support our farmers, local environment and the wider community in a really practical way and we’re delighted to be supporting it.”

The launch of the project comes in advance of a relaunch of the Mey Selections brand that will further support the community and environmental objectives behind NHI.

Up to £20,000 will be made available to the successful applicant for the Fellowship, which will conclude in March 2024.

Find our more about the Fellowship here. The deadline for applications is 5pm on the 15th of November, with interviews to be held within two weeks following that date. Applications should be made to info@sefari.scot.

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