Scotland’s leading digital farmers’ market, NeighbourFood, says it is looking to reach new producers, suppliers and market organisers as coronavirus restrictions increase online demand for local produce.
Although farmers’ markets in Scotland have temporarily closed, Scotland Food & Drink and Connect Local have secured funding to help hosts and suppliers pivot to online sales.
NeighbourFood’s online market platform currently connects 64 suppliers directly with consumers via locally run hubs in Killin, Peebles, Stirling, Blairgowrie and Balfron, with more markets preparing to launch in Errol and Falkland. The team behind the site is actively seeking to help their offline counterparts across Scotland with increased capacity for pop-up online markets during the lockdown.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, NeighbourFood markets have reported an increase in sales of between 300% and 400%.
“There is increasing demand for local, high-quality products that can be delivered to the door – an opportunity that innovative and entrepreneurial suppliers are recognising and getting on board with,” said Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink. “NeighbourFood provides an easy way for farmers’ market organisers and their suppliers to essentially put their market online and broaden their consumer base.”
Forth Environment Link (FEL), the Scottish environmental charity supporting the development of new NeighbourFood markets in Scotland, has created a mentoring and training programme to help organisations host their own online farmers’ markets. It recently fast-tracked NeighbourFood Peebles to help offer food deliveries to those self-isolating or shielding.
“We want to offer a boost to the local food economy by offering traditional farmers’ markets a new home online,” Jules Ryan, Project Coordinator at FEL, said: “NeighbourFood is a sustainable way to shop for essential groceries that supports the local economy, local producers and cuts down on food waste. In the current crisis, ‘local’ is more important than ever.”
For further information on NeighbourFood, please visit: www.neighbourfood.co.uk