Local Heroes

15 Jan 2007

The Isles’ Food Conference will be held in Clickimin, Lerwick, Shetland, on Friday February 2 and Saturday February 3.

Organized by the Shetland Islands Council Development Department, the conference will unite local food producers, business people and masterchefs to raise awareness of the islands’ produce

Drew Ratter, responsible for the islands’ economic development will chair the conference. A champion of Shetland’s food and drink industry, he believes that small local producers have a role to play in ‘fighting back against a soulless and destructive global food business’.

Also speaking at the conference will be Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, and Pam Rodway, an organic cheesemaker and friend of Slow Food from Morayshire, who has promoted the use of fresh, local and organic food in Scottish schools.

In the future, Mr Ratter hopes to have local industry supplying high-quality fresh produce to island dwellers, as well as creating exports. He adds that there is growing interest in the Slow Food movement in Shetland and that a local branch of the international movement may be set up at the event.

Speaking to The Shetland Times, he stated that, ‘We ought to make more of what we have. Despite the quality of what we can offer, it doesn’t have a high public profile. It’s not that easy to find Shetland produce, labeled as such, in the highest-quality UK mainland outlets. I hope the food conference will increase our understanding of the market, which is absolutely fundamental to making progress. Customer expectations have changed a great deal in recent years and the focus is on quality and on buying from sources that people can trust’.

Admission to the conference is free and places are limited. For further information, contact Shetland Island Council officer Nicola Halcrow on (01595) 744944

The Shetland Times

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