Somerset West & Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Councils are working with the Food and Drink Forum to launch a Food & Drink Mapping project.
Through the project, the local Food & Drink Forum team based at The Food WorksSW, will be contacting as many food and drink producers, suppliers and local retailers based within the Somerset West & Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Council areas as possible, gathering feedback from businesses in the local area and their supply chain. From this, a publicly available map will be produced highlighting to businesses and the wider community the local supply chain and where to buy locally.
This work will provide important data and link into a wider food initiative the South West Food Hub – an innovative project targeting public procurement to increase local business access to public food and drink supply opportunities in the region.
This mapping work will also provide producers with the opportunity to feedback on the issues or business activity where they would benefit from support whether improved labelling, legislation, e-commerce or helping understand the scope for sustainability in their production. This will help to shape the Council’s support available to businesses in the future with a better understanding of their needs.
Cllr Marcus Kravis, Executive Member for Economic Development at Somerset West and Taunton, said: “Somerset has some amazing food and drink producers and this project will inform businesses and the wider community of where to buy and sell locally. The mapping work will help to establish shorter, more environmentally friendly supply chains and by shopping locally, we keep the money in the area which will in turn support local producers and create jobs. It will also help us to enhance the support we provide to producers, helping them to develop their businesses. I urge all our local food and drinks producers not to miss their opportunity to get their business mapped by engaging in this project when approached by the Food & Drink Forum.”
Cllr McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, said: “We are blessed in Sedgemoor to have a wide and diverse landscape, which produces some of the best food and drink in the country. We wholeheartedly support this programme and hope that residents and visitors use the map to find all the scrumptious items that are available on their doorstep.”
Simon Gregory, Commercial Manager South West, based at The Food WorksSW, said: “We have seen first-hand what a challenging 18 months it has been for food and drink producers, and so anything we can do to help Somerset West & Taunton, and Sedgemoor District Councils promote their local supply chain is crucial. We will be conducting short interviews and surveys with producers, suppliers and smaller retailers to better understand their business, product, and supply chain, and will use this information to map local opportunities and advise the Council’s on what support is needed in the future to best support their food and drink businesses.”
The period of lockdown brought into focus how important it is to shop locally, and so producers and retailers are urged to engage with the project to get their business on the map. If you are interested in taking part, the online questionnaire can be completed by visiting bit.ly/FoodBusinessSurvey, or by calling the survey team based at Food WorksSW in Weston-super-Mare on 01934 315381.
For further information or to get involved in the project, please visit foodworks-sw.co.uk/mapping-project.