New food village to help grow ‘food capital’ Cornwall
8 June 2015 • Author(s):
Cornwall’s first dedicated food village is set to become one of the UK’s first government-backed Food Enterprise Zones (FEZs), bringing jobs, tourism and investment to the area.
Speaking at the Royal Cornwall Show, Farming Minister George Eustice said two innovative projects – Norton Barton Farm’s Artisan Food Village, and Trewithen Dairy’s new production facility – had been chosen by Cornwall Council to benefit from a new scheme to make it easier and cheaper for food businesses to grow in the region.
Cornwall is one of 17 areas in England awarded a share of £830,000 of government funding to develop a FEZ, which is built around a Local Development Order to overcome barriers to planning permission and fast-track the expansion of food and farming businesses within the zone.
A FEZ at Norton Barton Farm, already home to Popti Cornish Bakehouse, North Coast Cider, Cornish Charcuterie and Whalesborough Cheese, could create an additional 40 jobs for the local community. Its proposed Artisan Food Village would help local food start-ups grow and flourish, offering state-of-the art production units and practical support to develop and trial new products before companies take the leap to their own premises.
Artisan Food Village will encourage new entrants into the food industry
Plans are also in place to include a new education centre at the Artisan Food Village. The education centre will look at where food comes from and how it is made, adding another attraction to the diverse range of tourist experiences in Cornwall, where food and drink accounts for a third of money spent by visitors to the region.
Announcing the projects benefitting from FEZ funding, George Eustice, Farming Minster and MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, said, “Over the last twenty years the Cornwall brand has become synonymous with good food. From the Cornish pasty to great seafood, and clotted cream to award-winning cheeses, Cornwall has seen growth and momentum. We want to build on that by clearing barriers to growth and helping food entrepreneurs succeed.”
Commenting on the news, Fionagh and Richard Harding of Norton Barton Farm said, “We are thrilled to have been chosen for a Food Enterprise Zone; it’s particularly good news for Bude and North Cornwall where employment is focused around tourism and agriculture. We hope that we will be able to encourage new entrants into the food industry.”
Chris Pomfret, chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP , said, “The standard of projects was very high which is why we want to progress two potential zones rather than one. Food and drink is already worth around £1.5 billion to our economy and these zones can help accelerate growth and job creation, which are key priorities for the LEP.”
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