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Training Event For Highland Meat Producers

1st September 2005

The Highlands and Islands Local Food Network (HILFN) will be holding a training day on 14th September at Dingwall Auction Mart, aimed at all farmers and crofters who want to supply meat for local consumers.

Those attending will hear from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Soil Association and environmental health representatives about the various considerations and benefits to producing meat for local markets.

Rachel Jackson, who has started up a small scale meat production and processing business on Skye, will also describe her experience.

In the afternoon, participants will visit a local meat producer who has recently taken the decision to move away from supplying supermarkets and focus on local markets.

HILFN Programme Leader, Jo Hunt, explained: "Surveys have shown again and again that local people in the Highlands and Islands want to buy locally reared meat and vegetables. We also know that many farmers and crofters are thinking about selling directly to local consumers, but are held back by complex regulation and a lack of local facilities. This training day will look at how to overcome these issues at an individual croft or farm scale."

The training day is part of a series of training events organised by the HILFN. The Network, supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, aims to help producers start Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) ventures, where consumers make a commitment to buy directly from producers. This provides stability for the farmers and guaranteed local produce for consumers.

Kathleen Brims, key industries development manager at HIE said: "HILFN is a good response to the challenges of Common Agricultural Policy reform and the issue of how to reduce food miles. It is important to encourage initiatives like these which assist producers to respond to market opportunities and encourage production for local markets."

For further information, or to book a place, contact the Highlands and Islands Local Food Network, see www.hilocalfood.net or Calina MacDonald on 01478 640276.

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