Smith Hails Farmers' Market Summit

03 March 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has today hailed the successful meeting of a cast of thousands at the Ingliston Agricultural Centre to discuss how best to promote farmers' markets in Scotland.

The meeting was chaired by SNP colleague Richard Lochhead MSP, and involved representatives from all the relevant organisations to the work of markets across Scotland.

Smith has himself joined in efforts to promote markets, spending a day of his annual work experience programme helping out in Aberdeen Farmers Market and proposed a successful motion to SNP conference to investigate the creation of a ring-fenced tax on supermarket car parking places to create a fund for local authorities to promote such markets. He has also sought EU funding for the promotion of markets though this work did not develop in the absence of a single programme or project to apply to, which today's summit may go a way to remedying.

Smith said:

"Richard has been great at getting everyone into the same room to knock down whatever barriers might be holding Scotland back, and this is just the latest example. Farmers markets are not for everyone to be sure, but they can play a vital role in bridging the gap between the producer and consumer, promoting local produce, stimulating tourism and breathing life back into towns and villages that the out of town developments suck out.

"Across the continent I see umpteen examples of people forsaking their local supermarket and using the local market to get their weekly shopping, even in city centre Brussels there are several markets each week which are thriving, and we can do the same here.

"We have seen a number of poor examples of local authorities, and farmers too sometimes, failing to grasp the opportunities such markets can represent, and anything that can be done to bring local food direct to the people has to be a good thing.

"At a time when people are looking to know more about what is on their plate there are only upsides to promoting such markets in Scotland and they have my total support."