Food and Place : why it’s important to your place

This is Cumbria at the NEC 2019       Cumbrian Food and Drink       Front cover of Carlisle Living "our food revolution"

Why is food important to place?

There are so many reasons why food and drink captures the essence of place . The French have a word for it ‘terroir’ where the flavour of the local produce comes from the land on which it’s grown. We would go further than this and claim that the people in the place can and do influence the flavour of their food and drink. The Food and Drink from the area around Cumbria represents our standing as a place on the edge of nation ( England or Scotland). So we have learned to be more self-reliant whilst maintaining strong links to our national market place.

What we do

As Thomas Jardine & Co, our day job is to work with individual businesses in the area.  We help identify their pinch points and then develop solutions that either help them grow or become more productive.  We also allow some time to help bring the national focus onto the great business culture that exists in our unique area.

Taking Cumbria to the Nation

In April we were proud to be part of ‘This is Cumbria’ taking a wide selection of our great food and drink producers down to the Farmshop & Deli Show in the NEC.  The joy of this was that ‘This is Cumbria’ was co-created by a group of like minded businesses and delivered with out the external support offered to national stands there from Wales or Scotland.  It worked so well that we are doing it all over again in 2020 (give us a shout if you want to know more).

In May Thomas Jardine & Co revisited the DEFRA offices in London representing the Cumbrian Local Economic Partnership (LEP).  The meeting gathered LEPs from around the country who are developing a focus on the food and drink sector.  The conversation on the day covered the best use of our ‘natural economy‘ and the encouragement of a ‘circular economy’ .  In layman terms this means not destroying your natural assets (land, water supply, air quality) and making sure you get the most out of everything you use.  The final focus from DEFRA was on Public Sector Procurement where they highlighted a software system from Crown Commercial that would allow local producers to supply Public Sector bodies. This is a particular aim of Carlisle Food City so it would be great if we could persuade them to test this in our place.

Celebrating our food and drink

In May Carlisle Living ran an excellent set of features on the Food Revolution going on in Carlisle celebrating the new food movement going on in our city. The old CN Group always celebrated the sector in style with their Carlisle Living Awards and it is hoped that the new owners will continue with this.

Places in the conversation

At the moment, we are  really noticing that we keep on meeting people from the SW of England who really appear to have the same opportunities for food and drink as up here in Cumbria and consequently are developing similar solutions.  There has got to be something in our places working more closely to develop more solutions that could potentially benefit the whole of the UK.  At the same time we are also talking to more organisations based in Manchester so part of the answer must also lie in working closely with stakeholders from our region.

As border country we are also working with business and groups from both England and Scotland and learning form each sides differing approaches to looking after its resources and supporting its businesses.  This attitude is part of what lies behind the growing ‘Borderlands’ project with our area well aware that the line between Scotland and England will always only exist on a map or political boundary and unless we build a wall will have a fluid movement of local goods and services across it. To be honest, history shows that even if Scotland and England go their own way again I am pretty sure us border folk will find ways of continuing their business activities with or without their nations blessings : for extreme examples just check out ‘border reivers‘ on google.

Come and talk to us

In July we are going to talk about food and place at the national Revive and Thrive Conference in Manchester would be great to catch up with any of you who want to talk about how food and drink works with your place.

We find it extremely gratifying to see our work help both individual business and do something towards brining your place into the national conversation.  So if we can either help you as an individual business to get over that nagging issue at the back of your mind or you want us to help raise the attention of our place at a national level then please get in touch.