Welcome to Food & Drink Trails – helping to promote food & drink across North East Fife. This unique site is the result of a partnership between community stakeholders – led by Cupar Development Trust with the support of CuparNow – using digital mapping to identify, showcase and promote businesses, strengthening our ecosystem and establishing an equivalent ‘terroir’ … all recognising our unique sense of place for our food & drink heritage, geography, land, climate and culture.
We are creating a digital resource to aid engagement and interaction, driving digital skills and participation. This will increase awareness of our area’s unique offering – in-person and online – and act as a valuable digital asset to support local producers and suppliers enabling customers (be they wholesale or retail) to access information, allowing them to plan visits and make purchases from home and abroad.
Why now? 2020 saw significant changes in market towns with COVID-19 impacting on food and drink businesses: some have been devastated by loss of trade, key staff and suppliers, others diversifying with new products and ways of operating. 2020 also saw a rapid and exponential move to online food retailing and digital marketing. As restrictions have eased, opportunities have opened for businesses to build on new trends. In particular, local food and drink businesses (particularly SMEs) can become sustainable and resilient by maximising economic, social and environmental benefits of digital communication.
Why is all centred on Cupar? Cupar Development Trust (CDT) works to support the town and its district. Cupar – once the capital of Fife – is an historic market town and is engaging with multiple partners to explore how it can secure its place as a 21st century market town, reconnecting with its roots. CDT has worked closely with the award winning CuparNow. CuparNow – a unique digital improvement district – supports some 400+ businesses and 80+ community groups in and around the town. It has delivered unbroken support for the historic market town and Cupar’s large rural catchment throughout lockdown via managed, integrated digital communication – benefiting businesses and their customers, especially the most vulnerable in our community. Mindful of digital’s critical importance, the project’s delivery team is investing to improve connectivity across North East Fife – Cupar, St Andrews and Anstruther – each with their own historic and contemporary links to their local food economy – and to villages in the heart of the agricultural and horticultural production areas, such as Ladybank and Falkland. Cupar is also geographically central to NE Fife. The trails we are creating each begin and end in the town – enabling foodies to explore our area to discover more than just a flavour of what is on offer.
What will the trails contribute? We are hoping our trails will help to contribute to the promotion and sales of regional produce. Around Cupar – across our ‘Eden Terroir’ – we have award-winning farms and producers. Many have products that are available via the town’s businesses. Cupar alone has four supermarkets, 15 food & drink retailers and 38 food & drink outlets covering cafes, takeaways, bars, pubs, bistros and restaurants. It is hoped that this project will provide easier access to digital communication to showcase supply chains and those involved in their development. Not only will this encourage others to source from like-minded businesses, but it will also help to support the promotion and sale of produce from across the area – making more people more aware of our area’s unique produce … as well as online ordering of the same. Our ‘21st Century Market Towns’ will link through trails, connecting partners and stakeholders and enabling the public to ‘reconnect with our roots’ to enjoy the very best produce our region has to offer. It is important to note that our focus on NE Fife also helps the area contribute to the ambitions of the wider Tay Cities Regional Tourism Strategy, as well as the strategies of Visit Scotland.
How will it benefit other food producers/communities? This project brings together a unique collaboration of businesses, community groups and tourism organisations from across NE Fife. Although centred on Cupar (for the reasons explained), the broader focus will encapsulate the vast majority of NE Fife. By proximity and association, the many villages and communities around the market towns will benefit. By promoting and supporting local producers and suppliers, this project will not only help to increase local food security, it will also be a step in the right direction to ensure NE Fife becomes more resilient to future uncertainties in food provision.
Is there a longer term goal? We want to provide a legacy that will aid continuity and growth. We are fortunate in having the established CuparNow as a supporting partner in this process. Indeed, we would not be able to deliver this project without their support. We have additional networks of partner organisations from across Cupar & District, ensuring community support and providing confidence in delivery. CuparNow has a five-year term (2019-2024), and so we are confident that this initiative will run for a minimum of two years – delivering against agreed targets with built-in monitoring and evaluation processes. We want to make the results available for the benefit of other similar towns and their rural catchment areas – both in Fife and further afield. In delivering this site and the resulting trails, we will work to align with the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Recovery Plan and help to contribute to sector recovery at a regional level – stimulating demand in key markets and supporting businesses to capitalise on demand. Our project will directly support 200 businesses by helping to stimulate improved awareness of their physical and online presence, showcasing their produce to customers at a hyper-local, local, regional, national and international level. Delivery will engage with and be overseen by a collaboration of community groups and will ensure a clear ‘buy local’ consumer-facing element to the delivery, highlighting Scottish produce as a priority. In addition, this will help to support and deliver the benefits of Community-Led Tourism, including existing local facilities catering for physically and mentally less-able visitors – putting local people at the heart of decision-making and using the project data to help identify new opportunities, improve and develop services, and to make requests for any future support from the public sector and national organisations should the need or opportunity arise. Finally, we will work to ensure our delivery aligns with and contributes to environmental sustainability: to this end, we will align with economic, social and environmental sustainability goals of key partners in our area including though not limited to Sustainable Cupar, Tourism St Andrews and Sustainable Food Places (Fife).
A note from Cupar Development Trust …
Cupar Development Trust exists to promote and co-ordinate change for the benefit of Cupar & District. Our ambition is to provide a focus for collaboration in community development benefiting people regardless of age, ability or background.
We’re aware of the seismic changes that have affected our area in the last 18 months and how Covid-19 has impacted to generate new and evolving trends especially in the food and drink sector: burgeoning online sales, click and collect, new delivery services, midweek dining ‘in & out’, staycations, subscription programmes and make-aways are some of the developments showing how businesses of all sizes are adapting to ever-changing circumstance, demands and expectations.
‘21st Century Market Towns – reconnecting with our roots’ is looking to use ‘digital’ to identify and promote all those across NE Fife and its Market Towns who are producing, processing, selling and disposing of food and drink in ways that contribute to the local economy, helping to sustain the livelihoods of those working in and around the sector. In effect, we’re creating a ‘terroir’ – mapping the local food and drink offering to reflect the diverse heritage and culture of our historic market towns, their natural landscapes and local catchments.
This innovative and collaborative project will build on the award-winning work delivered by CuparNow to create digital trails, helping to support and promote more than 200+ food & drink businesses and organisations, improving participation and skills of those involved and boosting business-to-consumer engagement and sales – face to face and online. It will help connect and promote business-to-business links – increasing opportunities for improved local procurement, shortening supply chains and lessening environmental impact.
We will highlight those businesses that protect the diversity of plants and animals in our area and, in particular, those who avoid damaging natural resources and who work proactively to support environmental sustainability and, as part of the process, we will be showcasing good food governance and promoting businesses participating in quality assurance schemes.
The project will build sharable knowledge of the area’s crucial food & drink sector that, until now, has been an incomplete story: producers, wholesalers, retailers, market reach, employment numbers, training and career development opportunities – engaging with education providers and local environmental groups to campaign for a reduction in plastics use and food waste. Integral to the project’s delivery will be engagement with health and social care partnerships and appropriate charities to highlight benefits of an affordable, safe and healthy diet with a particular focus on tackling food insecurity and diet-related health issues.
Finally, mindful of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership recovery plan, the project will be ‘Scottish first’ in its messaging, helping to stimulate demand and highlighting those businesses participating in national food tourism programmes. We are keen to make this a scalable pilot – delivering over a minimum two years against agreed targets with built-in evaluation – where results and learnings can be adopted and adapted by others to benefit similar towns and their rural catchments.
Cupar Development Trust, (CDT) which serves a wide area surrounding the town, known as “Cupar & District”. CDT ran a Charrette in March 2016, whose specific challenge was to identify what Cupar should look like as a “21st Century Market Town”.
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