Web portal to boost South Downs food and drink
Food and drink businesses in the South Downs National Park are getting a free publicity boost through a new online directory and networking service to help promote their produce to local people and visitors.
Any food business within a ten-mile radius of the National Park – from country pubs and farm shops to farmers markets and wine tasting – can register their business at southdownsfood.org.
For now the site is only open for businesses to register. When it launches in early summer 2015 it will give visitors, residents and businesses quick access to accurate information about food and drink available in the South Downs.
Southdownsfood.org is being created by Natural Partnerships Community Interest Company (CIC) with the support of the South Downs National Park Authority and the Southern Co-operative. Natural Partnerships CIC has a strong background in supporting local food and farming, including founding the Sussex Food and Drink Awards, they are also developing a programme of activities to help local businesses link-up and work together.
Said Hilary Knight, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, “southdownsfood.org will showcase the wonderful produce here and help support local businesses to work together to share and overcome their day-to-day challenges.
“We are creating new business opportunities joining up the whole food and drink chain in and around the National Park and building awareness of the South Downs special flavours across the UK.”
Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park, said:
“From artisan cheese, ‘super-food’ watercress, wild venison, micro-breweries and some of the best sparkling wines in the world, the South Downs should be recognized for high-quality, sustainable food almost as much as its spectacular beauty and tranquil spaces.
“These are working landscapes which have been shaped by farmers and food production for thousands of years. Helping people find and appreciate this wonderful produce will make sure these businesses benefit from being part of the South Downs National Park.”
Gemma Lacey, Director of Sustainability for The Southern Co-operative, said: “As an independent regional retailer across southern England, it’s vital that we play a pivotal role in supporting local food producers and a sustainable rural economy; this is very much part of our business ethos as a co-operative.
“We have a close working relationship with the local food producers who supply our popular Local Flavours range, available in an increasing number of our stores. Supporting Southdownsfood.org is a natural extension of The Southern Co-operative’s commitment to championing local food and drink and the people who produce this.”
Businesses from any part of the National Park and a 10 mile ‘buffer’ area around it can apply to join including:
- Farm Shops
- Farmer’s Markets
- Local Food Retailers (Independents and Small Local Chains)
- Hotels and any accommodation providing a food service
- Cafes/Country Pubs/Restaurants
- Catering Companies (Local)
- Wineries, Wine Producers, Micro-Breweries
- Local Food Festivals
- Secondary producers (dairy produce/baked goods/deli produce)