COVID wars the beginning
In a market a long time ago (2019) a small group of independents gathered to fight the global food empires. Driven by a dream of two jedi’s of the food world from the planets Hawkshead Relish and Ginger Bakers. They looked to spread the force of food made with passion.
Our jedi’s passed their plan to a small group of rebels from the planets Thomas Jardine & Co and the Family Business Network. We were fortunate enough to get support from the mighty Cartmell Shepherd and Enterprise Answers. With the support of Cartmells and Enterprise a small rebel fleet was established
The rebel alliance
Our drive to support the rebels comes from watching our two sons. Both were fighting as independents in different sectors. Our eldest runs the Guild a safe base for freelancers and managers not tied to a corporate desk. Whilst our youngest takes his fight to the food empire with his partner in crime on the good ship Bruce and Luke’s.
Rebels from across the market all had similar tales to tell. They were gathering on an alliance planet called the Farmshop & Deli Show. Our small fleet was joined by ships from Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Pennington’s Liqueurs, Lakeland Artisan and Farrer’s. The alliance flew under the This is Cumbria banner. The banner was developed by We are Eclectic and printed by Printing Plus and was to be proudly flown on the planet Farmshop & Deli.
The movement hadn’t finished yet. the generosity of Cartmells and Enterprise and uniforms from Liberty Workware meant we could launch a new millennium ship that housed new freedom fighters like Shed1Gin, ML3, Molly Rose, The Toffee Shop and the Pie Mill joined us on our crusade.
The need for a new hope
The first gathering at the planet of Farmshop & Deli was a huge success. The alliance grew in confidence and new fighters from Cakes from the Lakes, Eden Valley Meat Company, Hawkshead Brewery and Vies Jamaican Rum Cakes joined us for a return trip to the planet Farmshop and Deli in 2020.
Then a dark force not seen for a millennium appeared just off our planet. The COVID death star threatened both the rebel alliance and the empire itself. So for the good of our galaxy the fleets had to disperse and locked down in their own planets until the time came when we could re-emerge and complete our mission.
Planning for the future after the death star
In this dark time none of the rebels have stood still. Some have focused on homing their jedi skills. Others have continued to supply their homelands with brilliant food and drink. Soon we will have a plan to deal with the death star. We still have to compete with the empire.
The gradual ending of lock down means we can continue our fight to bring food and drink made with passion to our homelands. Maybe what we have learned is that movements work best with rebels with a cause .
The credits will soon role on this episode and we will be ready for the next one. Slightly older and slightly wiser.
May the force be with us.
To the outside world the food and drink supply chain is so straight forward. You grow something, you pick it, you prepare it, you take it to market and you sell it.
Working with the food and drink supply chain we find the trick is to use three eyes. One eye on future trends, one inside the business and one outside the business .
Eye on the future
Dean Van Leeuwen the Moonshot Futurist (at a business breakfast organised by Armstrong Watson) showed that specific future trends can be difficult to capture. He reminded us of the speed of change our society is currently facing. This change inevitably leads to redundancy of current operating systems and we have to learn to unlearn old ways. For us in the food chain this means real rapid change. We saw a real example of food retail change at the official opening of Pioneers new food store in Carlisle. The opening was truly a celebration of their journey so far (140 years and counting). The new store has created a hybrid where wholesale food services meets retail with style.
Eye on the inside
In beautiful rural settings like the Lake District and the Eden Valley business space for food producers is a valuable commodity. A recent visit to a well-established small family business demonstrated this. The lack of available space made them focus on constantly improving their systems and relearning the equipment they required. Similarly, a larger well-established food manufacturer kept their productivity increasing by constantly identifying new machinery for their processing. This now means they are ahead of the curve and looking for partners to work with to develop laser cutting equipment for the food sector.
Eye on the outside
We had an interesting conversation with a young business that is looking outside. The business had done its research well and knew who they had to talk to and what they needed to prepare. Their problem was getting key people to talk to them. The business wanted to talk to a local council officer and couldn’t pin them down to a time. The local council are a good bunch with business at heart BUT are pushed for time and this appears to be impacting on the support they can offer, we’re sure they will find the time soon.
Adding the third eye
The observant of you would have realised we reckoned you needed three eyes to succeed in food and drink. Our food and drink manufacturers are not aliens, they have simply learned the art of thriving in the modern business eco-system, they share knowledge with each other and work with agencies to ensure full visibility of the future, the present and the outside world. This is Cumbria demonstrated how these businesses can get things done and we (Thomas Jardine & Co) just love working with them.
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’. Terroir is the flavour of the local produce comes from the land on which it’s grown. We go further. People in the place can and do influence the flavour of their food and drink. The Food and Drink from around Cumbria is from 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 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. It wasn’t delivered with 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 natural assets (land, water supply, air quality). It also encourages you to 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
We keep on meeting people from the SW of England who have the same opportunities as up here in Cumbria. Consequently, we are developing similar solutions. There has got to be something in Cumbria and Cornwall working to develop solutions that 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. 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. Our area is well aware that the line between Scotland and England only exists on a map or political boundary. 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.
It is a joy to see our work help individual business and to bring our 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.
This is Cumbria : the beginnings
Between the 8th and 10th of April a large group of Cumbrian Food and Drink Businesses are going down to the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC. They are going down as individual businesses but are locating in one large ‘This is Cumbria’ pavilion.
This is Cumbria started as an idea at last years show from two businesses Ginger Bakers and Hawkshead Relish. They both wanted to make more noise about the great businesses based in Cumbria. So as you do, they booked a huge block right next door to the main stage for next year.
A few days later Maria from Hawkshead Relish rang us (Thomas Jardine & Co) and Sue from the Family Business Network to see if we could help fill, name, promote and develop the space. The answer was of course yes. The name ‘This is Cumbria’ came up as the collective name for the stand and We are Eclectic stepped up to do the design work for the show. As we write, Printing Plus have stepped up to do our printing.
This is Cumbria at the Farmshop & Deli Show
The plan is to make ‘This is Cumbria’ a regular of the Farm Shop and Deli Show. To achieve this we created a showcase area to allow businesses to test the water in a friendly environment. They will be surrounded by businesses who are more experienced with these types of shows. Two key sponsors Cartmell Shepherd and Enterprise Answers both stepped forward and financially supported areas for these businesses (Cartmell Shepherd the showcase area and Enterprise Answers the enterprise zone).
This is Cumbria: our supporters
The businesses have now grown to 6 stand holders: Hawkshead Relish, Ginger Bakers, Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Kendal Mint Liqueur and Farrers and 6 show case businesses: Shed1 Gin, The Pie Mill, ML3 Technical, Lakeland Artisan, The Toffee Shop and Molly Rose Drinks. At time of writing we still have one 2*2 space left so please shout if you fancy joining us.
The activity around the show is now growing. Maria has given a brilliant masterclass at the NWBH show on getting the most of a trade show. We are also holding a drinks reception on the 9th with Nigel Barden and various Cumbrian Chefs will give ‘This is Cumbria’ a shout from the main stage.
Help is coming form all sorts of other places, 32West have helped with press releases, Freya from WRBM has answered all our queries, BBC Radio Cumbria have talked to us about the progress of the show and loads of tweeters are helping spread the word. This is Cumbria is happening because businesses want it to happen. It’s going to be interesting to see where we go next…
This is Cumbria
The ‘This is Cumbria’ collective has this week launched a new brandmark that will represent the forward-thinking group of businesses at a national event next April. The brand has been launched as the collective make a final call for Cumbrian producers and craftspeople to join them at their inaugural event, the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC 8-10 April 2019.
The initiative was formed earlier this year with an aim to create a ‘big impact’ destination stand that could position the very best of Cumbrian food, drink and produce in front of thousands of key buyers. With much of the space already booked, just four trade stands are remaining. Come and join the likes of Hawkshead Relish , Ginger Bakers, Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Kendal Mint Liquor and Shed1 Distillery.
‘This is Cumbria’ are also offering a number of affordable ‘Show Case’ stands to developing businesses that are new to national trade shows. Keith Jackson one of the co-organisers from Carlisle-based Thomas Jardine & Co, said “Cumbria is full to the brim with creative people who all share a common bond – they are all inspired by Cumbria to create exceptional things, which comes through in our newly unveiled brand identity.
“We wanted to offer those businesses who are first-time trade show exhibitors an introductory opportunity which requires a lower investment of cash and time than a regular stand would, with the added benefit of extra support through event training and participation in promotional collateral. We’d encourage any businesses that may be interested to get in touch for a chat about what we can offer.”
For businesses taking full trade stands at the event, ‘This is Cumbria’ are also offering a number of unique benefits which include pre-show PR and social media build up, inclusion within a dedicated booklet and a drinks reception hosted by celebrity chef, Nigel Barden.
Sue Howorth of The Family Business network said “We’re delighted to support this exciting initiative that offers growing businesses a platform and a voice outside of Cumbria. I can’t think of a better opportunity for those looking to reach a national audience or to raise their brand awareness.”
The Farm Shop & Deli Show takes place at the NEC from 8-10th April 2019. For more information or if you are interested in joining the growing collective that is ‘This is Cumbria’, contact Keith Jackson on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the facebook page @ThisisCumbria
Cumbrian Food and Drink
Our county’s vibrant and diverse food & drink scene has made Cumbria a must-visit destination for foodies in recent years. Local food festivals and farmers markets have flourished as a result but now a group of innovative food & drink producers want to join forces to take Cumbria’s finest to the national stage at the NEC Farm and Deli Show in April 2019.
The seed was sown at this year’s Farm Shop & Deli Show in April when a small number of Cumbria-based food & drink businesses exhibited their produce to an audience of 30,000 trade buyers over 3 days. Despite their independent successes, they noticed the gathering crowds of buyers at the large county and regional stands and the idea of the ‘This is Cumbria’ initiative was born!
This is Cumbria
With collective efforts from Jacqui and Keith Jackson at Thomas Jardine & Co, who specialise in generational food businesses and food entrepreneurs and Sue Howorth from The Family Business Network Ltd, the project has been launched to offer trade stand space and sponsorship opportunities. Speaking about the initiative, Keith Jackson said “Maria from Hawkshead Relish and Lisa from Gingerbakers has secured the best location for our ‘This is Cumbria’ stand adjacent to the Live Stage to help us to create a real buzz and curiosity around the produce, but also to offer a unique one stop shop for buyers, retailers, distributers and suppliers to come and experience a taste of Cumbria”.
Already working closely with many Cumbrian food and drink business through The Family Business Network, Sue Howorth commented “The ‘This is Cumbria’ stand represents great value and a one-off opportunity for those new to the world of exhibitions or for businesses with tight marketing budgets to sell more products nationally or internationally. We are offering a range of stand sizes from shared space which is ideal for first-timers, to larger stands for the more established”. Other incentives for joining the Cumbria stand will include the sharing of logistics and travel costs, collecting buying power for show sundries, plus the use of a dedicated central meeting space within the stand for exhibitors to meet and talk with potential customers and trade press.
Maria Whitehead MBE of Hawkshead Relish plans to hold a Masterclass prior to the Show to offer advice and support to fellow Cumbrian exhibitors on how to get the best from the show. Speaking from experience, she commented “This is the sector’s leading event and it brings together over 450 exhibitors which attracts thousands of key buyers from the food and drink retail market over the three days. It gives us a brilliant opportunity to launch new products, generate new sales leads, network and meet with existing clients and to generate some good PR coverage. We hope that this unique opportunity will encourage local businesses to join us and exhibit next year alongside like-minded Cumbria producers”.
The Farm Shop & Deli Show takes place at the NEC from 8-10th April 2019. If you are a Cumbria-based food or drink producer and are interested in reserving trade space, please contact our ‘This is Cumbria’ project coordinators, Keith and Jacqui Jackson via email email@example.com. The team are also inviting businesses to join the venture as a Sponsor of the ‘This is Cumbria’ stand.
More information about the 2019 Farm Shop and Deli Show can be found at www.farmshopanddelishow.co.uk