Sunday 14 July 2024
 11.1°C   NNE Fresh Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Food festival gets the chop

What next? Last year's Scottish chef of the year Neil Forbes plates up with Ian Morrison and Alison Moar at last year's Shetland Food Festival's Ready, Steady Shetland. Pic. Billy Fox/SIC

SHETLAND’S local food producers may band together to run their own food festival after the local authority withdrew its funding for the annual event due to take place in November.

Producers were informed just last week that the £25,000 budget could not be justified at a time of spending cuts at Shetland Islands Council, where £30 million annual savings are being sought over the next two years.

SIC economic development executive manager Douglas Irvine said: “We took the decision that we couldn’t go ahead with such funding at a time when schools are being closed and there’s likely to be cuts in other services.”

The food festival was established five years ago with a grand opening featuring French celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

The event has grown in popularity, especially since it was linked with the Shetland Craft Fair two years ago, and last year’s Ready Steady Cook event drew enthusiastic crowds. Estimated visitor numbers over the 10 days ran into the thousands, with 22 stall holders representing even more producers.

Designed to promote Shetland produce, local firms said that it was one of the highlights of their year.

Jay Hawkins, of Shetland Cheese, said: “It was our biggest individual event of the year for sales.

“It was an opportunity to meet customers you didn’t see at farmers’ markets, I was able to sell lots of products for Christmas hampers and could try out new products on large numbers of people.

“It’s very disappointing that this has happened, but I can understand in the bigger scheme of things I would rather my son’s school stayed open, and if this can help then so be it.”

Ann Johnson, of Scoop Wholefoods, added: “It was a shop window, it showed people there was a good range of good quality local food available with very low food miles, which I think is often forgotten.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“I am disappointed, but people understand keeping schools open is far more important than a food festival.”

Producers have started speaking amongst themselves to see if they could collaborate in some kind of event beside the craft fair in November.

The annual craft fair at Lerwick’s Clickimin Leisure Complex has been funded entirely by local craft producers for the past eight years, after being initially launched with the help of local authority funding.

The SIC’s economic development unit is also considering how it can assist the producers to set up their own event in the future.

“We are going to work more closely with the industry to see how they might be more involved in helping to meet the costs for such events,” Irvine said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.