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Business / Crofter Chris nominated in initiative seeking Scotland’s ‘food heroes’

Innovative Garths Croft Bressay picked out for its sustainable methods

BRESSAY-based crofter Chris Dyer is among the nominees for a Scotland-wide “food hero” competition recognising sustainable food businesses.

Garths Croft focuses on traditional and heritage breeds of sheep, pigs and poultry and is among 18 small businesses recognised by the organisation Food Hero Scot as “sustainability heroes within our communities”.

Some of the produce grown at Garths Croft Bressay.

The Covid-19 pandemic and growing concerns over sustainability have put both the food and drink industry and rural small businesses in a daunting position, and the competition aims to pay tribute to those prioritising local food production, diversification and sustainability.

Chris provides a busy social media presence including a popular Instagram account with regular posts and film promoting sustainability.

“I am delighted and honoured that Garths Croft Bressay has been nominated as part of the Food Hero Scot competition to represent sustainability and diversification in food production alongside engagement in traditional heritage,” he said.

“There are so many excellent hard-working businesses and individuals in Shetland engaged in agricultural production and of course the fantastic work of Taste of Shetland and Shetland Livestock Marketing Group (SLMG) is both crucial and much valued, promoting Shetland’s wonderful produce to the world.”

At Garths Croft hundreds of tons of drystone dykes have been built to provide shelter to a newly planted woodland and create a positive environment for nature to thrive, enhancing its biodiversity.

Garths Croft Bressay owner Chris Dyer.

Native Shetland sheep are bred for meat and the variety of coloured fleeces, whilst pigs cultivate and improve ground which is reseeded with grass, arable crops and wildflowers. A polycrub and adjacent cultivated rigs provide the opportunity to grow abundant fruit and vegetables.

Chris has also branched out by offering pre-booked croft tours throughout the year to “interact with the public and promote, interpret and curate Scottish agriculture and the benefits of small-scale, mixed sustainable practices from plough to plate”.

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During the Covid-19 pandemic virtual tours have been offered digitally, while a unique range of merchandise including greeting cards and shopping bags has been developed.

“It’s an honour and responsibility to be the sole nomination from Shetland. There are some fantastic businesses from across Scotland and of course I’d be happy and grateful for any votes from folk that will keep the Shetland flag flying high.”

  • Voting for the Food Hero Scot competition closes on 30 July and you can vote here.

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