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The Royal Highland Show An independent publication from www.canongate.org

Sealed with a kiss

Scotland’s best on show

Distributed with The Times Scotland 15 June 2017

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Salmon is the UK’s top food export How one grower doubled turnover Previewing the Royal Highland Show Why farming needs to get smart


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The Royal Highland Show briefing

15 June 2017

The Royal Highland Show

Shoppers will spend more than £8m with leading luxury brands

The Royal Highland Show is an independent publication by Canongate Communications.

2-3 Briefing Show fashion, Alan Laidlaw interview, Scottish salmon & Show sponsors

4-6 Produce: Savouring the best of Scotland with Tamdhu, Glengoyne and Edinburgh Gin

7-10 Royal Highland Show Preview Clydesdales get creative, Royal Highland Education Trust

11 Education Scotland’s Rural College courses underpinned by innovative science

12-13 Technology Futureproofing the past, remote participation & funding a digital release

14 Crafts Supporting the creative economy in the Highlands and Islands and beyond

15 Provenance: Harris Tweed Authority looks to food and drink for lessons in traceability EDITOR Will Peakin 0131 561 7364 will@futurescot.com DEPUTY EDITOR Kevin O’Sullivan 0131 561 7364 kevin@futurescot.com ADVERTISING Harry Dickinson 0131 561 7364 harry@canongate.org Andrew Ritchie 0131 561 7349 Andrew@canongate.org David Riddle 0141-563-1381 david.riddell@ internationalmediasales.com PUBLISHER Hamish Miller 0131 561 7344 hamish@canongate.org FutureScot Creative Exchange 29 Constitution Street Edinburgh, EH6 7BS www.futurescot.com Cover picture: Courtesy of The Royal Highland Show

The Royal Highland Show is an independent publication by Canongate Communications distributed in The Times Scotland. All rights reserved. Neither this publication or part of it may be stored, reproduced or transmitted, electronically, photocopied or recorded without prior permission of the Publisher. The Royal Highland Show is published and exclusively distributed in The Times Scotland. We verify information to the best of our ability but do not accept responsibility for any loss for reliance on any content published. If you wish to contact us, please include your full name and address with a contact telephone number.

Country living and style The Royal Highland show is a key date in the calendar for both farmers and rural fashionistas This year, a new Country Living Pavilion will add even more luxury independent brands to the Show’s shopping selection. In just four days of this year’s Royal Highland Show, shoppers will spend more than £8m with leading luxury brands, independent boutique stores, artists and designers. Country Living Magazine becomes part of the Royal Highland Show for the first time this year. The CL Pavilion within the Lifestyle Village will welcome the Show’s expected 200,000 visitors with an array of Scottish gifts,

homeware, art and jewellery, alongside some of the UK’s finest independent producers and craftspeople. The success of the Show encourages luxury brands, designers and artists to return year after year. With four galleries in Scotland, Breeze Art Gallery returns for the sixth year in 2017. This year there will be two stands: a contemporary fine art stand with favourite and new artists and a dedicated stand for popular McMoo artist Jennifer Hogwood, including Showonly McMoo limited editions. Designers from further afield are also attracted to the Show. Zoe Gibson of Leicestershire- based Peachy Belts is back again this year with her jeans belts and interchangeable buckles. Worn by many top event riders and celebrities, Peachy Belts will showcase a new summer range at the Show,

including white ostrich and baby blue cowhide belts. Zoe said: “I have a number of good mail-order customers in Scotland and

“We loved last year as the people are so very straightforward and really appreciate quality” Zoe Gibson

so I thought it was time to bring the range up to a major event in Scotland, and picked the Royal Highland Show as the premier one. We loved last year as the people are so very straightforward and really appreciate quality.” With more than 1,000 trade stands across the showground, there’s plenty of designer quality choice on offer as well as the opportunity to check out the latest in country style from wellknown names like Joules. Show manager David Jackson said: “It is only right that the Royal Highland Show features the best shopping alongside the best food and livestock. Each year we aim to make the shopping experience even better for our visitors. We are delighted to welcome the Country Living Pavilion to this year’s show as part of that commitment.”

‘A real exclamation mark in everyone’s diary’ RHASS chief executive is looking forward to a great day out By William Peakin It has become a routine for incoming chief executives of the Royal Highland Agricultural Show Society (RHASS) to be asked by friends: “And what are going to do for the rest of the year?” But as Alan Laidlaw, new to the role, points out: “When you see the breadth of the business, there’s a huge amount that goes on all year and the work that goes into the Show is amazing – we’ve actually started on the 2018 Show.”

Right now, there is a real sense of excitement around Ingleston as this year’s event gets into full swing. Laidlaw, from East Lothian, took over responsibility for RHASS, the Edinburgh-based charity that contributes £250m to the Scottish economy through its events business and flagship event, last August. Previously, he was head of property at The Crown Estate Scotland. His new role is to strengthen the Society’s influence in promoting and protecting the interests of land based industries on behalf of its 15,000 members. He is also overseeing the £20m investment in the 280-acre Royal Highland Centre site at Ingliston, adjacent to Edinburgh Airport, that attracts more

than one million visitors each year. Laidlaw was speaking earlier this week, as the showground was being prepared for the start of the four-day show on 22 June. “Internationally there is also a lot going on. We have got the World Aberdeen Angus Forum beginning the day before and running throughout the Show. I’m also speaking to young farmers from around the world who are here on an exchange programme. “So, the Show is a real exclamation mark in everyone’s diary. It’s about the people, and the passion – we have strong teams of directors, staff and volunteers, and every one of them cares hugely about the organisation and the Show and you can’t help feeling buoyed by that; so many people want-

ing to make the Show such a great day out for people. We’re promoting the best of farming, food and rural life and that’s what the Society was set up over 200 years ago to do. “And there are many other aspects to the Society’s work; the charitable side of Royal Highland Education Trust, engaging with almost 30,000 children all over Scotland to make sure they know about the food they eat, about farming and the countryside. That’s a huge part of what we do. We have initiatives supporting women in agriculture. We promote best practice and we have innovation awards; it’s all about knowledge transfer and innovation, making sure the industry and the rural economy can grow.”


Briefing

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Royal Highland Show welcomes £500k in sponsorship Support ‘vital to continuing growth and success’ The Royal Highland Show has raised almost £500,000 in sponsorship for its 2017 event, an increase of almost £50,000 on the previous year. Title sponsor The Royal Bank of Scotland continues to support the Show and the agricultural industry in Scotland. A number of other major sponsors – Marks & Spencer, Greenspan Energy, Quality Meat Scotland, McFadyens Contractors, Peter D Stirling Ltd, Lactallis McLelland, Highland Wagyu and Harbro – have confirmed their renewed support for the event, which attracted nearly 190,000 visitors last year. Trade exhibitor Scot Heat & Power is looking to increase its existing presence at the Show by becoming a major sponsor this year of the renewables area. Pollock Farm Equipment Ltd is sponsoring the Ayrshire section of the Show to mark its 150th attendance as a trade exhibitor. Graham Gillespie is also returning to sponsor one of the showjumping competitions for the 36th year in a row. The appeal of The Royal Highland Show has attracted sponsorship from as far afield as New Mexico. Julie and Gunter Roskosh are

The Royal Highland Show is a great day out for everyone of all ages, get up close to the country’s top quality livestock, taste exceptional food and drink and experience rural living at its most vibrant. On pages 7-10, we preview some of the highlights of the Show. One of Scotland’s most iconic breeds, the Clydesdale, has been unveiled as the hero image for the 2017 Royal Highland Show following the success of last year’s Morag the Highland Cow. Jennifer, has been bred by the esteemed Clydesdale breeder Ronnie Black from Newton of Collessie Farm, Fife. Page 7 Organisers have announced the return of ‘Scotland’s Larder Live’ the Show’s very own food and drink festival. There will be a newly designed tasting and talk theatre, the return of the artisan cheese tasting area and

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Celebrating 25 years of holding the French Government’s Label Rouge award

sponsoring the female section of the Clydesdales this year in memory of Paul Cooper, who did so much for the breed in the USA. Other new sponsors this year include K Paxton Blacksmiths, Baxters Food Group, The Supreme Group, Avant Tecno UK Ltd, Broil King, Halbeath Farm and Dairyflow. The Royal Highland Show takes place from 22-25 June at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, and is organised by the Royal Highland Agricultural Show Society (RHASS). Keith Brooke, RHASS chairman, said: “Sponsorship support is vital to the continuing growth and success each year of the Royal Highland Show and offers sponsors a unique opportunity to reach both rural and wider communities.” Tickets

Advance tickets can be bought online until midnight on Wednesday 21 June and will be sent electronically for you to print at home. Advance ticket price: Adults, £22; Concession (registered students & those aged 60+), £19.00. On gate ticket price: Adults, £27; Concession, £22. Children aged 15 or under, free. Car parking: £8 per car, per day. *Concession Tickets are for registered students of those aged 60+ Online tickets: royalhighlandshow. ticketsrv.co.uk

Previewing the best of farming, food and rural life Four pages of highlights featuring what visitors can look forward to

The Royal Highland Show

the opportunity to enjoy some of the best food produced in Scotland all in one location. Page 8 The Highland Hall will again be full to capacity with the largest collection of competition cattle in Europe, housing over 940 beef and dairy cattle, and the highest entries since 2007. With 144 entries, the Aberdeen Angus are set to dominate this year, especially as, for the first time in 40 years the Angus World Forum returns to the UK. The Show, as a key part of the Forum, is a great opportunity to celebrate this world class native breed. Page 9 The 2017 exhibit within the Countryside Cottage at the Show will focus on the formation of the Women’s Land Army, tracing its origins, as well as its links with allotments, the WRI and other organisations. The exhibition will explore the role of women on farms in 1917 and how they dealt with unfamiliar machinery, equipment and livestock. There will also be examples of the types of clothes and workwear they wore and knitted, such as Balaclavas, socks and mitts. Page 10

Delivering for the long-term Scottish salmon industry is taking the sustainable path to growth By William Peakin Scottish salmon is celebrating 25 years of holding the French Government’s Label Rouge award, an honour given only to products of superior taste and quality. Salmon farmers are particularly proud that the fish was the first non-French food to join this prestigious group “The award of the Label Rouge was significant in developing the export market in France and has subsequently opened many other markets for Scottish salmon around the world,” said Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO). “Our workers produce the finest fish in some of Scotland’s most remote, rural communities and then send it off to cities around the world. The Scottish provenance and reputation for high quality standards is down to their hard work and dedication.” Last year saw record sales of Label Rouge Scottish salmon, 8,000 tonnes of the premium fish, served in many of the top restaurants in France. Originally produced as a niche product for the premium French market, it is now sought-after in other European countries, including Switzerland and Germany, and further afield in the Middle East and Japan. Scottish salmon is exported to 60 countries in all. In the first quarter of this year, salmon regained the number one spot for UK food exports. Earlier this year, Scottish salmon producers headed to Brussels to exhibit at Seafood Expo Global, the world’s largest seafood show, and

strengthen international trade links and boost business opportunities for Scotland. Farmers exported £451m of Scottish salmon - 75,000 tonnes - last year, because of their international reputation as producers of the highest quality salmon. Scotland’s unique environment and sea lochs and the industry’s stringent farming standards have led to the ‘premiumisation’ of Scottish salmon. Along with this success abroad, salmon is enjoying growing demand at home and the UK market underpins the sustainability of the industry and its partnership with local communities. It means that more young people in rural areas have careers, training and the opportunity to bring up their own families where they grew up. Last year, the industry launched its

Community Engagement Charter. For many years, salmon farming companies have been investing and supporting local communities throughout the Highlands and Islands. From sponsorships to sports kits, theatre for schools to technology for elderly people, the projects are wide-ranging. Support comes financially, through volunteering, offering facilities and company expertise. Now the industry has formalised these many projects under a new set of guiding principles. “As an industry, we have always been engaged with local communities in many ways,” said Landsburgh. “The time is right to make a public commitment to maintaining and enhancing this support. It is really important that communities feel more engaged with companies and recognise the many benefits they receive from salmon farming in their area.” Innovation and investment places

Scotland as one of the global centres of excellence in fish husbandry and environmental sustainability using natural methods and technology to keep stocks healthy. At the expo in Brussels, one exhibitor, Wester Ross Salmon, displayed an aquarium containing wrasse, the cleaner fish which share the farm space to keep salmon clear of sea lice. Visitors could also see the wealth of natural life on the seabed around the farms, which includes scallops and prawns. “Thousands of trade buyers come to meet salmon farmers at the exhibition but very few have the opportunity to see a salmon farm in action in Scotland,” said managing director Gilpin Bradley. “So, we thought we would bring a tiny part of it to them. We wanted to highlight the successful introduction of wrasse as a very effective and environmentally friendly way to keep salmon free of lice which occur naturally in the water. It’s also fascinating to see the secret life that goes on in the seabed around the farms – like the growth of scallops, prawns, even a baby turbot.” Landsburgh added: “As provenance and sustainable production becomes ever more important to customers, Scottish salmon certainly ticks all the boxes. With the increasing world population – and an older, more affluent and health conscious, demographic - the demand for top quality protein is growing. “This increasing demand means we could double or triple production, but our plan is to grow sustainably – at about 4-5% a year, to double value by 2030. The welfare of the fish is paramount and you cannot disturb the natural environment or other species which share the space. A responsible approach to growth means that we can deliver for the long-term.”


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Remarkable and fine Tamdhu Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky’s golden year Born on the banks of the River Spey in 1897 and enthused by the optimism of the Victorian era, the brand founders had a single aim: to build the most remarkable distillery and produce the finest single malt. An aim still imperative to this day. During construction, Tamdhu’s founders enlisted the expertise of Charles C Doig Esq - the pre-eminent distillery architect and engineer of the day. The consortium of gentleman came together to design and build a distillery nothing less than pioneering. A water wheel positioned beneath the floor for optimum performance, kilns redesigned to reduce heat loss and waste extracted by Archimedean Screw, direct to the distillery’s own railway station. Few names other than Tamdhu so embody the ‘Can-DhuSpirit’ of our grand Industrial Age. The unwavering quality of Tamdhu is defined by the hint of peat in its malted barley and the fact its water is drawn from the Tamdhu spring. Every drop of this exceptional malt is matured exclusively in the very best European and American sherry oak casks, many of which are first-fill and some of the rarest in the industry. Those in use today are of the same type

insisted upon when the distillery was established, ensuring every drop is as magnificent as the one before. To honour the distillery founders, the Tamdhu team travel to Jerez in Southern Spain to hand-select casks that will be used to mature every drop of Tamdhu and continue to create the finest single malt whisky. This year has marked a ‘gold rush’ for Tamdhu with the outstanding quality of its two core expressions being celebrated internationally. Tamdhu triumphed in the esteemed International Spirits Competition and was awarded two Gold Medals for its classic 10 Year Old and Batch Strength II, the newest addition to the range. Batch Strength II further cemented a triumphant year by being crowned winner in the Non Age Statement category of the annual Whisky Awards which take place at the revered Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, and winning a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, widely considered America’s most prestigious international spirits competition. Tamdhu is available from a range of high-end retailers including Waitrose, Booths and Oddbins. Brand founders had a single aim: to build the most remarkable distillery and produce the finest single malt

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An investment of time and infinite care Six guiding principles keep Glengoyne true to its past and true to its taste Uncompromising in the pursuit of excellence, Glengoyne runs its stills slower than any other distillery, maturing the full collection of malts in the finest oak casks from within its traditional dunnage warehouses. Six guiding principles keep Glengoyne true to its past and true to its taste. To change just one element would be to alter the subtle, complex flavours of Glengoyne. Glengoyne’s new make spirit lies sleeping in the oak casks, which are teeming with flavour, within the cool darkness of the distillery’s traditional earth-floored warehouses for at least the next decade. A combination of time and specially selected oak then work together, developing rich, bold colours along with the unique sweet, fruity flavours which characterise Glengoyne. There are seven distinct expressions of Glengoyne and each spirit’s unique characteristics make them perfectly suited to pairing with certain foods. Take Glengoyne 10 Year Old, for example, with its flavours of fresh green apples, toffee apples and a hint of nuttiness. This is an ideal match with oyster and shallot dressing, with the whisky not only served alongside, but in the oyster shell too. The combination of hand-selected sherry and bourbon casks used to age Glengoyne 12 Year Old add a

Uncompromising in the pursuit of excellence, Glengoyne runs its stills slower than any other distillery

note of coconut alongside toffee apples and lemon zest.This makes it the perfect accompaniment for scallop and Mull crab, with chilli and coriander. The older Glengoyne expressions develop spicier, warmer, wintry notes, with stewed fruit, cinnamon and brown sugar coming to the fore. Perfect at the end of a fine meal as a digestif or even paired with dessert. The Glengoyne 21 Year Old pairs best with a cheese

RARE, EXPENSIVE, HANDMADE. AND THAT’S JUST THE CASKS.

THAT’S THE GLENGOYNE WAY. glengoyne.com

course – think Isle of Mull cheddar and Arran blue served with the best oatcakes. The cheese serves as a perfect accompaniment to the whisky’s notes of Christmas cake, honey and rich fruit. The most mature expression, Glengoyne 25 Year Old, requires a simple pairing to compliment its endlessly complex and enjoyable finish. The sweetness of a honey roasted glazed ham perfectly matches the spicy

liquorish notes of the indulgent, quarter of a century-aged expression. Renowned as one of Scotland’s most beautiful distilleries, Glengoyne is located beside a picturesque waterfall, at the foot of Dumgoyne hill, which eventually meanders its way to the stunning shores of Loch Lomond. The Glengoyne Way is an investment of time and infinite care, which have their reward.


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Inspired by Scotland’s capital Savouring the spirit of Scottish Summer with Edinburgh Gin With more gin consumed per head in the country’s capital than anywhere else, it should be no surprise that for many in Scotland (and further afield), the best way to capture the spirit of the Scottish summer is to enjoy a refreshing G&T, or create a new favourite cocktail. Drawing inspiration from the innovative and creative spirit of Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh Gin’s meticulously crafted gins have been designed to be appreciated by all – inviting discovery of a modern gin experience. A sophisticated G&T made with the classic Edinburgh Gin is one of the best ways to enjoy this iconic London Dry style gin; it is clean, zesty and juniperforward, balancing softness with bright citrus notes. Best served with an orange twist and premium Indian tonic water for a traditional serve, the gin’s distinctive flavour also lends itself perfectly to classic cocktails such as Negronis, and Gimlets. Capturing the spirit of the shore with Edinburgh Gin’s Seaside Gin, the Emerald Sea cocktail is a drink that tastes every bit as delightful as it sounds. Muddled samphire, Chartreuse and

fresh lime juice combine to evoke the scent and romance of the sea. Inspired by Edinburgh’s rich naval heritage of cannons and the famous One O’clock Gun, the Cannonball Gin is a Navy Strength gin that lives up to its evocative name. Its peppery warmth balances out Campari’s herbaceous, slightly bitter tones in the scarletcoloured Cannonfire Martini. This portfolio of modern gins, from the classic London Dry style Edinburgh Gin to the Cannonball and Seaside Gins, breathes new life into punchy martinis, long summer drinks – and, of course, the iconic G&T.

“This portfolio of modern gins breathes new life into punchy martinis, long summer drinks – and, of course, the iconic G&T”

Inviting discovery of a modern gin experience


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Realising your ambition A Scottish farm has doubled its turnover thanks to a rural leadership programme By William Peakin Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have joined forces to give rural businesses in the Highlands and Islands an opportunity to join the Rural Leadership Programme. This year’s programme will see 15 Highlands and Islands businesses join 45 businesses from other areas of Scotland for the 13-day programme. The programme started in 2006 and since then has supported over 450 rural leaders to help them create additional wealth through leading, team working, networking, influencing and driving ambition. Independent evaluation of the Rural Leadership Programme shows that it is having a direct and positive impact on the rural economy. “I came away realising that my wife and I had a good, diverse farming business - washing, packing and processing our freshly grown produce - but that we could take our 430-acre farm based at Lunan Bay a lot further,” said Andrew Stirling, a previous programme participant and owner of Stirfresh.

“My wife and I had a good, diverse, business but we could take our farm a lot further” Andrew Stirling

To grow they decided to invest £150,000 in equipment, allow them to supply to retail. They began supplying Aldi with fresh soup packs and, within six months, Maris Piper potatoes. At the same time, they began supplying over 850 schools with potatoes, fruit and vegetables in Tayside, Fife, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The company is also providing pre-cooked baked potatoes to Aldi, along with four new ‘prep veg’ lines and five new lines into Lidl. In two years, turnover has increased from £2.8m to more than £5m and they have plans to undergo a £1m expansion of their premises over the next two years. The Rural Leadership Programme is delivered on behalf of Scottish Enterprise by SAC Consulting and is aimed at business managers and employees from rural businesses who have a desire to develop their leadership skills and grow their business. These include farmers, vets, estate managers, tourism managers, and managers from processing and supply businesses. “Rural industries are constantly facing new challenges, having to adapt to new technology and public policy, both in the UK and internationally. That’s why we’re opening this year’s programme to Highlands and Islands businesses as it’s essential that our rural leaders, wherever they are in Scotland, are equipped with the necessary skills to help them realise their ambitions,” said Julian Pace, head of rural at Scottish Enterprise. “This programme provides rural businesses with the skills and networks to help them overcome barriers, challenge the status quo through continuous innovation and meet likeminded people who can play a part in ensuring that our rural industries continue to make a vital contribution to the Scottish economy.” Douglas Cowan, Director of Strengthening Communities at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, added: “Opening up this fantastic opportunity to become a pan-Scotland programme ensures business leaders acquire, develop and apply a broad range of personal leadership skills that are important for the sustainability and development of a prosperous rural Scotland. We’ve had a high level of interest from businesses in the Highlands and Islands area and we’re urging enterprises to come forward to register their desire to be part of this excellent leadership programme.” Companies wishing to register their interest or ask questions about the programme should contact Julia Latto, Scottish Enterprise Project Manager on julia.latto@scotent.co.uk

Generations of expertise get the creative treatment One of Scotland’s most iconic breeds, the Clydesdale, has been unveiled as the hero image for the 2017 Royal Highland Show following the success of last year’s Morag the Highland Cow. Jennifer, has been bred by the esteemed Clydesdale breeder Ronnie Black from Newton of Collessie Farm, Fife. Jennifer is the fourth generation of Best in Breed

at the Royal Highland Show with her mother, grandmother and great grandmother having each being awarded the prestigious rosette. Building on the ‘Generations of the Country’s Best’ creative, Ronnie and Jennifer’s journey has been captured on a short film detailing the care and expertise that goes into creating the country’s best.

A farming showcase Thousands around Scotland get a chance to see where their food comes from By William Peakin More than 75% of Scotland’s land mass is under agricultural production, with the country home to over one million head of beef cattle, around eight million sheep, producing 4,600 tonnes of strawberries and 131,000 tonnes of oilseed rape grown for oil used for cooking and industrial purposes. But despite Scotland’s agricultural abundance, in 2016, a LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) survey found that one in five visitors who attended the organisation’s flagship Open Farm Sunday event had never been on a farm before. Open Farm Sunday celebrated its 12th anniversary last weekend, as farms throughout Scotland invited people to learn more about how their food is produced and meet the farmers who care for our countryside, day in, day out.More than 350 farms around the UK opened their farm gates, all of them intent on showcasing farming and food production, giving the public an opportunity to understand

more about how and why farmers do what they do. Each farm offered something different, but activities include going on a farm walk, watching the milking, feeling the texture of sheep’s wool, smelling the fields of home grown crops, listening to the birds, hearing the tractors as they prepare the land or tasting fresh fruit straight from the vines. Scottish Co-ordinator Rebecca Dawes has been involved in Open Farm Sunday since it was first introduced, opening her family farm on ten occasions and supporting the campaign in Scotland since 2013. “There is a real appetite in Scotland for Open Farm Sunday with over 20,000 people visiting farms across Scotland during 2016’s event,” said Dawes. ““We know the impact of the day is helping both the consumer and industry with 91% noting that they appreciated farmers more because of their experience on this one-day. 73% went one step further and confirmed they would actively look to buy British produce. “It is incredibly important that we help the public discover and understand the world of farming. I’m sure many would be fascinated to hear that there are approximately four million egg-producing hens in Scotland providing us with over 853 million eggs annually. As a country, Britain

consumes 11.7 billion eggs per year, but only 12% of these are purchased direct from the farm, butcher or small independent. “Therefore, a staggering 88% are selecting their eggs straight from the supermarket shelves with little or no knowledge about how those chickens have been reared. Open Farm Sunday provides the opportunity to see what the hens eat, where they graze, find out how many eggs they lay each day, where the eggs are sold and maybe pick up some good tips on how to cook this staple food.” Most of the events are free to attend or ask for just a small donation towards charity, and are widely spread across Scotland. The success of Open Farm Sunday has been achieved through collaboration with sponsors, industry organisations and the hundreds of dedicated farmers and their helpers who put on such great events. In Scotland LEAF is delighted to work with a range of organisations including Quality Meat Scotland, NFU Scotland and RHET (The Royal Highland Education Trust). Principal sponsors of Open Farm Sunday 2017 included AHDB, Arla, Asda, BASF, Co-op, Defra, Farmers Weekly, Frontier Agriculture, LEAF Marque, Marks & Spencer, National Farmers Union, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose.


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The Royal Highland Show Preview

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An outstanding array The primacy of ingredients locally produced and ethically sourced is key to the Royal Highland Show experience The 2017 Royal Highland Show will celebrate an outstanding range of food and drink from the very best producers in Scotland and beyond. Organisers of the Show, the best of farming, food and rural life, have announced the return of ‘Scotland’s Larder Live’ the Show’s very own food and drink festival. There will be a newly designed tasting and talk theatre, the return of the artisan cheese tasting area and the opportunity to enjoy some of the best food produced in Scotland all in one location. New exhibitors to the event for 2017 include Lockerbie Creamery, Baxters, Luss Smokehouse and Northumberland Honey. And we welcome back many show regulars including Mrs Tilly’s Confectionary, Mackies of Scotland and Grahams Dairies. This year, Scotland’s Larder Live will present an impressive range of artisan drinks, including Scottish gin and flavoured vodkas. Berry Good will have Scotland’s first cold brew coffee liqueur, Cofaidh Liqueur (from the Gaelic for coffee), which is made using freshly roasted coffee beans from local roasters. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit the revitalised tastings and talks theatre to smell and taste some amazing food and hear producers, which include the winners of the Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Awards, explain their journey into food creation and offer samples of their wares. The main cookery theatre will offer a

packed programme of demonstrations and talks from top chefs, including ‘The Kilted Chef’ Craig Wilson, Andrew Whitley, of Bread Matters, and Edinburgh’s Paul Wedgwood. Due to the huge success of its launch last year, the cheese tasting pop up will return, where show-goers can taste a range of delicious artisan cheeses and meet the makers. The Royal Highland Show proudly hosts the Scottish Cheese, Butter and IceCream Championships and, new for 2017, the Scottish Bread Championships. Food-to-go providers will be on hand to offer up a tasty selection of hot and cold food across the 110-acre showground. From venison burgers to wood fired pizzas, these caterers will all be adhering to the show’s highly respected food charter which states, among other commitments, that, where possible, only ingredients that have been locally produced and ethically sourced should be served at the event. This ensures quality is high and Scottish farmers and growers are supported. Commenting on the popularity of food and drink at the event, show manager David Jackson, said: “The food offer continues to go from strength to strength, and visitors value the opportunity to taste and buy a wide range of quality food and drink. It has become a key part of the visitor experience, and the fact we continue to attract new exhibitors, illustrates the popularity and success of this area. “Scotland’s Larder Live gives visitors the chance to learn about the relationship between the farm, the producer and the consumer and have the opportunity to engage with the people who create, from field to fork, some of the finest food produced in Scotland.”

“Visitors value the opportunity to taste and buy a wide range of quality food and drink” David Jackson

Feeding growing minds A programme of wideranging events, from forestry to fish, designed to engage and inspire young learners The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) has unveiled this year’s programme of entertaining and inspiring activities for the 177th Royal Highland Show. More than 30,000 children, including 300 school groups, are expected to take part over the four days of the show. Building on previous years, the programme offers a wide-ranging mixture of bookable and drop-in events, from forestry to fish, designed to engage and inspire young learners. Pupils of all ages will have the opportunity to explore healthy eating habits, and can get hands on cook-

ing up delicious dishes using Scottish produce, including meat in the Quality Meat Scotland cookery theatre. They will also learn about food preparation and minimising food waste with Love Food Hate Waste. Hands-on food activities continue with grain grinding, oil seed pressing and scone baking as part of an exploration of the life cycles and many uses of cereals. Bees are the focus in the honey tent for an activity workshop on how they make honey, what it tastes like and how to make a beeswax candle. Seafood is also of great importance

to Scotland. An interactive workshop will tell the story of farmed salmon and the growth of aquaculture as a sustainable food production system. Marine scientists will be on hand to explore the depth of their work and visitors can try some fresh, local seafood and learn about potential career paths. Three mini-activities themed around potatoes will introduce primary-aged pupils to how potatoes grow, what happens to them in a packing factory and why they taste so good. The RSPB will host an interactive session to showcase Scotland’s carried

“With the Centre’s recent refurbishment we are hopeful that school groups and visitors alike will have a fantastic time” Fraser Dunn

habitats and the birds that call them home. Pupils will learn about RSPB survey techniques and how to ‘give nature a home’ back at school. Agricultural machinery is literally a huge part of the farming industry and older pupils will have the chance to get up close and personal with some serious kit. Before they know it, they will cover all aspects of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and discover how farmers use STEM every day – from computers and consoles to costs and calibration. RHET communications officer Fraser Dunn said, “We are very much looking forward to this year’s education programme in the Discovery Centre on Avenue Q. With the Centre’s recent refurbishment, courtesy of Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick Ltd and Richmack Ltd, along with the help of new and returning volunteers, we are hopeful that school groups and visitors alike will have a fantastic time at the Show.”

Bread joins the cream of the crop Show will introduce the new Scottish Bread Championships this year The inaugural Scottish Bread Championships marks the first time real bread has been highlighted at the Show. This builds on the success last year of Scottish ice-creams’ first appearance at the Scottish Dairy Championships. The awards, created and convened


Preview

15 June 2017

The Royal Highland Show

of Scottish produce

9

Children discover how farmers use STEM every day, from computers and consoles to costs and calibration

Highland Hall will again be full to capacity with the largest collection of competition cattle in Europe

Ten year high for entries As an event, RHS is continuing to develop and remain true to its roots

Organisers have announced the return of ‘Scotland’s Larder Live’ by Scotland the Bread and the Scottish Food Guide, are open to both professional and amateur bakers. All submissions in each of the seven categories must be made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives. Andrew Whitley, a founding director of Scotland The Bread, said, “The Championships are a great showcase for a new generation of bakers who are working hard to bring nourishing and tasty bread from local wheats to everyone in the land.” Competition is already fierce in the Scottish Dairy Championships as cheeses, ice-creams, sorbets and butter all battle it out for top spot in their individual categories. Experts from across the Scottish food industry will judge these awards. Owen Hazel, owner of long-established Jannettas Gelateria in St Andrews, said: “The Royal Highland Show is such an important date in most farmers’ and producers’ calendars. It’s an opportunity to come together at Scotland’s premier agricultural show to sample, celebrate and champion the producers and manufacturers of dairy and ice-

cream excellence within Scotland. I am delighted to have been invited to judge at this year’s show and I’m very much looking forward to it.” Scotland’s Larder Live! is the Royal Highland Show’s annual celebration of the best of Scottish food and drink with over 100 exhibitors expected this year, including the pick of artisan producers from across the UK. RHASS chief steward John Sinclair said: “Scotland’s Larder Live! offers an inspiring platform for the best food and drink producers from both Scotland and further afield. Visitors to the Show have the rare opportunity to meet these makers and give valuable feedback.”

“It’s a great showcase for a new generation of bakers” Andrew Stirling

Arguably the UK’s premier agricultural show, the Royal Highland Show features the finest livestock with thousands of animals gathering at the Ingliston Showground to compete for the honour of being the best of the best at this year’s event. Organisers of the event, which takes place from 22–25 June, are preparing for what will be an exceptional exhibition, with very strong entry numbers across many sections of the Show. Royal Bank of Scotland, partners of the Show since 1981, maintain their support for the four-day event, which attracted record breaking numbers in 2016, with almost 190,000 people in attendance. The Highland Hall will again be full to capacity with the largest collection of competition cattle in Europe, housing over 940 beef and dairy cattle, and the highest entries since 2007. With 144 entries, the Aberdeen Angus are set to dominate this year, especially as, for the first time in 40 years the Angus World Forum returns to the UK. The Show, as a key part of the Forum, is a great opportunity to celebrate this world class native breed. The Limousins, which took top slot last year for breed numbers, have 104 entries, marginally down from 126 in 2016, but still an impressive number. And the Beef Breeder Classes, where breed statistics are a crucial factor, are also enjoying their highest entries this year with 90, up from 85 in 2016. The numbers in the dairy section

are up this year, maybe reflecting a more optimistic year in the industry, with 120 entries, up 10 from 2016. Highest entries are from the Holsteins with 44, up from 28 and the Ayrshire’s have seen a resurgence from 18 in 2016 to 29. The Shorthorns see a fall in numbers this year; from 28 to 12, which was very much expected due to a major exhibitor dispersing their herd. The show has increased the number of sheep entries again this year with an impressive 2031 animals involved making this the highest number of entries for over a decade. Leading the way is the Beltex section with 216 entries, with the Texels close behind with 201, an increase from 148 in 2016. Elsewhere in the sheep sections, the Zwartbles have their highest number in 10 years with 131 entries (97 in 2016) - this was to be expected as the Zwartbles have classified the Highland as their National Show in 2017. The Berrichon section is also strong with 34 entries. The Young Handler competition has 60 entries, the highest since its introduction in 2013, providing confidence in the future of the sheep sector. Blue Texels are a new for 2017 with 32 entries and the judge for 2017 is Elizabeth McAllister from a well-known farming family in Northern Ireland. An exciting development in the horse section for 2017, is a new Horse of the Year Qualifier. Two new classes have been introduced and will see 52 juniors compete in the Junior M&M Ridden class for large and small ponies, all keen to secure two ‘golden tickets’ as a HOYS Qualifier. 1635 entries have been received in the light horse section, with the HOYS qualifying Mountain and Moorland Under Saddle section again dominat-

ing with 192 entries. The Heavy Horse section continues to have a strong presence, with a record 408 entries, with Shetlands and Highland females leading the way with 100 and 105 entries respectively. And this year also sees the highest number of goat entries, up from 132 to 137, with milking goats seeing the highest increase from 30 to 35. Royal Highland Show Manager, David Jackson, said: “The Highland prides itself on showcasing the very best the livestock industry has to offer, and this year is no exception. We continue to increase numbers, and introduce new classes, with amazing support from our exhibitors. And with around £180,000 prize money at stake, we will see some fierce competition for a winning class placing. “As an event, we continue to develop and remain true to our roots as an agricultural show and work hard to be truly relevant to all aspects of farming and rural life. The fact that we have a waiting list for beef and dairy cattle, sheep are at record breaking numbers and we have no less than 42 HOYS (Horse of the Year Show) qualifiers be competed for this year, surely reflects how the Show is held in high regard and recognised as the foremost agriculture Show in the UK. “The Grand Parade always proves to be a highlight of the Highland, and gives us a chance to celebrate the commitment and dedication of all our cattle and heavy horse exhibitors. The team look forward to welcoming them all, some travelling from as far north as the Orkneys, many from Northern Ireland and as far south as the South West of England. We are very grateful to all of our exhibitors for their continued support and wish them all the best of luck.”


10 The Royal Highland Show preview

15 June 2017

Highlighting Scottish women’s war effort It’s one hundred years since the Women’s Land Army was founded The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland has announced the focus of its exhibition at this year’s Royal Highland Show, to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. This follows on from exhibitions, staged with support from partners over the past two years, which have shown the effect World War I had on Scottish agriculture. This year marks one hundred years since the Women’s Land Army (WLA) was founded. The WLA was formed in response to an acute labour shortage on farms due to the huge numbers of men conscripted into the armed forces. There was also an increased need to grow more food because of the U-boat blockade. The 2017 exhibit within the Countryside Cottage at the Show will focus on the formation of the WLA, tracing its origins, as well as its links with allotments, the WRI and other organisations. The exhibition will explore the role of women on farms in 1917 and how they dealt with unfamiliar machinery, equipment and livestock. There will also be examples of the types of clothes and workwear they wore and knitted, such as Balaclavas, socks and mitts. The exhibit will look at other jobs carried out by women in 1917, including in forestry, munitions and engineering, and how the WLA changed women’s role in agricultural research, managerial positions, advi-

The WLA was formed in response to an acute labour shortage on farms sory services and farming. The success of the Women’s Land Army led to its continued deployment in the Second World War and contribution to the war effort. A short film for visitors outlines this agricultural history, as well as aspects of food production, rationing,

suffragettes and bondagers. Visitors can also see an area of cereal varieties and turnips grown on farms in 1917, established for the Show by Oatridge Campus working with staff from Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture. Raised beds of Scottish Kale represent Scotland’s oldest vegetable – grown in the Shetland Isles since the 17th century – whose inner leaves fed humans and whose outer

leaves acted as winter feed for cattle and sheep. A garden plot beyond the cottages will contain vegetable and potato varieties grown a century ago, many of which are still grown today as they suit the Scottish climate. Farm machinery and equipment from the early part of the 20th century will also be on display, with information boards created by pupils from Greyfriars

R C Primary School in St Andrews. Stonemason trainees from Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral will try to recreate the carving of stone items used in agriculture at that time, such as supporting staddle stones, stone troughs and millstones. The overall aim of the exhibit is to create a vivid impression of the many challenges women faced at the time and act as a tribute to Scotland’s women in agriculture.


Education

15 June 2017

The Royal Highland Show 11

SRUC’s unique offer The opportunity to study at a worldrenowned institution offering top quality knowledge and expertise Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is a unique institution offering courses at all levels from access through college and university level study, to postgraduate taught courses and research opportunities. SRUC courses relate to the ways in which we make use of the land and natural resources around us – from agriculture to the bio-economy, veterinary nursing, and a huge variety of exciting and relevant topics in between. SRUC courses are underpinned by the innovative science that supports these land based industries, and the way they interact with and support the environment around them and the businesses that rely on them. SRUC offers study locations, teaching resources, professional training courses, and additional facilities at campuses across Scotland. Each campus has something different to offer in terms of environment and resources but all are firmly rooted in the SRUC ethos of putting your experience as a

student at the centre of everything we do. We draw upon cutting-edge knowledge from our research and consultancy activities to ensure our courses are tailored and shaped to meet the current and future needs of industry. At whatever academic level you choose to study with us, you will leave with knowledge and practical skills required to thrive in the workplace. SRUC student Claire Simonetta, now in her final year of the BSc (Hons) Agriculture, has been an exemplary student at the Ayr campus, having won many prestigious prizes most notably the Farmers Weekly Agriculture student of the year 2016. Claire’s journey into farming is somewhat unusual. Five years ago she was working as a paralegal while saving up to embark on a degree in astrophysics. Claire, who was born in Switzerland, discovered a passion for agriculture after her mum was appointed as secretary for the Swiss Highland Cattle Society. A business trip with her mum to various farms in Scotland gave Claire a real insight into the industry, this combined with the enchanting landscape, helped her make the life changing decision to leave her job and make the move to Scotland. After taking on placements for experience on a number of Scottish farms, Claire decided to embark on her studies with SRUC. Claire travels

‘I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge’ – student Claire Simonetta between the campus and her home on Mull where she helps run a beef and sheep hill farm with her partner. Claire says one of the keys to her success is the studying environment at SRUC in Ayr. “I have greatly enjoyed my studies. The Ayr Campus is a great

place to learn with good facilities and helpful and friendly staff and tutors who take an interest in the individual student and always make the effort to answer questions and talk to students outside the classroom. In the last three years, I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge that has been very helpful on the farm at home on Mull, where I can apply the theory in

the everyday running of my partner’s business.” For those wishing to pursue a life less ordinary, SRUC really does offer many compelling opportunities to study and progress in a career you can be truly passionate about. Further information can be found on the SRUC web site at www.sruc.ac.uk/study.

e g e ll o C l ra u R ’s d n a tl co S t a y d Stu and become an expert in your field · Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Vocational Courses · Full time / Part time / Distance Learning · Courses in subjects you can be passionate about!

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Take a look at our website to see what’s on offer: www.sruc.ac.uk/study Contact us: www.sruc.ac.uk/ask Tel: 0800 269 453 www.facebook.com/sruc.ac.uk Find SRUCStudents on


12 The Royal Highland Show Technology

15 June 2017

Futureproofing the past The authenticity of a nation’s heritage, preserved in digital form, is up for debate By William Peakin “One thing close to my heart is digital preservation, long-term preservation of our digital outputs,” said Dr Stuart Jeffrey, research fellow at Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation. “There are technical issues, but much more significant are the structural and bureaucratic issues in terms of managing and maintaining for the long-term the digital content that we are producing.” Jeffrey was speaking at during a panel session, chaired by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, at XpoNorth, the creative industries festival held in Inverness last week. His comment presaged a debate about

the authenticity of digital forms of art, and physical and cultural heritage. The panel was asked about the authenticity of digital recreations. Rupert Harris, founder of AVM, a production company that brings together art, entertainment and technology, spoke about its creation of ‘Ai Weiwei 360’, an online version of the Chinese artist’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. “He created these art works and he wanted us to create a digital experience around those things,” said Harris. It consisted of navigable 360º imagery, video and audio channels, helping people to discover the meaning, context and technical detail of Ai Weiwei’s work and was the first exhibition to be captured in photorealistic stereoscopic 3D. “What he didn’t want is for us to recreate his art works. Putting something together that is as close to the physical theme as possible, while at the same time doing what digital does best is a challenge.” Asked by Hyslop about whether

Opportunities for remote participation Reaching new and distant audiences is possible but needs thought By William Peakin More than 2,500 people gathered in Inverness last week for XpoNorth, the annual festival for Scotland’s creative industries which attracts delegates and speakers from around the world. In an era where connecting online, rather than in person, is how people tend to develop their networks of friends, colleagues and interests, it was a fitting forum to debate opportunities for remote participation. A panel discussion featured Steven Grier, head of Microsoft in Scotland, Dougal Perman, managing director of digital production company Inner Ear, Rupert Harris, founder of creative agency Animal Vegetable Mineral, and Liz Rosenthal, director of consultancy Power to the Pixel. It explored how people far from an event can become involved through technology, and what content producers should consider when planning to engage different audiences. “There is a slightly dated view of remote participation,” said Grier, “which is of a jittery browser window with occasional buffering that presents something that has just been strung together. The technology industry, and all industries, need to move on from

that. The technology that exists now to create a powerful experience, remotely, is quite amazing, in terms of the virtual and augmented reality for example.” Dougal Perman said that technology offers more people the opportunity to enjoy an event, but in new ways. He cited the examples of Scottish Ballet’s recent live-streaming of the rehearsals for and development of a new piece of work, and the band Hue & Cry making its sound-checks available online: “People in the business kind of laughed at the idea,” he said, “because sound-checks are such a routine, often mundane, part of their job – but for fans, it offers a different way of experiencing the formation someone’s work.” It is not just live events, said Rupert Harris, who spoke about his firm’s work in “archiving the atmosphere”, using virtual reality, of Tottenham Hotspur’s former ground, now demolished, at White Hart Lane. “There is such a strong sense of the role it played in the community and it was about capturing as much of that as possible,” he said, “not just being a VR tour of the stadium, but bringing moments, the throng of the crowd, back to life.” Liz Rosenthal highlighted environmental sustainability; that technology meant people could ‘visit’ places that are otherwise out of bounds. The panel was asked about how accessible these new ways of engaging audiences are to smaller organisations, given they may not have the resources of a Royal Opera House and its pro-

digital companies could have a role in the curation of art and heritage, Harris agreed. In the case of the Ai Weiwei exhibition, he had taken a decision to highlight a work online, an installation consisting of 90 tonnes of steel reinforcing rods straightened by hand after being recovered from buildings that collapsed in an earthquake. “If you can use something as a reference point to begin a conversation online, then I think that is a great way of doing it,” he said. Stuart Jeffrey said he had a “slightly different notion of authenticity in this context, where probably a better word for it is ‘aura’, which is a Walter Benjamin-esque notion about the entire history of the object and what that object means. Speaking in a museum, rather than a gallery context, where you are digitally creating pre-existing objects there is genuinely an anxiety amongst the curators and amongst the audience about what they are being presented through this digital medium. “What is its relationship to the

original object, which is the object that carries the aura? Until recently, that anxiety has been expressed as there is a kind of sanitising effect of digitising something and it doesn’t give you that sense of past or aura. But work from 2011 by people like Bruno Latour and Adam Low [has highlighted] the potential for the migration of the aura from an original object to its replica. They weren’t specifically talking about digital, but it does work in digital. [It is about] what mechanisms you can deploy to give the digital form its own sense of authenticity and aura; soit doesn’t feel something superficial, it feels like something in its own right.” He said there were other important considerations in the validity of the digital form, such as the intent of the creators, the intended audience and do they feel that it is for them, and the network of relations involved in the production process “and that’s why I’m so interested in communities and community groups. If, for example, a monument has existed in a com-

munity for thousands of years and, for conservation reasons it’s being removed, their reaction to having a replica given to them is probably not going to be positive. But if that digital replica is created by themselves, with experts, then there that is a mechanism that can help us break down barriers to how this kind of thing is received by audiences.” Jeffery also urged people to think beyond the technology: “I think we are all very excited when we see new opportunities provided by technologies like VR, AR and 360D photography, but [we should be] moving away from thinking about these technical modes of dissemination, which are actually quite transient, and thinking more about gaps in research and in understanding regarding practical modes of engagement - especially around issues of authenticity and affect when we come to digital content. It’s about the personal experience rather than simply the sophistication of the mode of delivery.”

Digital funding for Highlands musician talent-spotted busking

Hit maker: As well chairing a panel session at XpoNorth, Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop presented £15,000, from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Innovate Your Business Scheme, to fund the digital release of singersongwriter Tamzene, signed to the Belladrum Festival’s gramme of live-broadcasting performances in cinemas across the world. “We are making progress [in bringing the price of technology down],” said Grier. The adoption of virtual reality by corporates would help bring it down for small business and organisations, and ultimately consumers. Rosenthal spoke about her experience as programme director for the virtual reality section of the Venice Film Festival: “I have issues about dislocating from the world, but it is the start of something interesting as an art form,” she said, “and you can see the potential in things like NASA

record label after being talent-spotted busking outside a supermarket in Inverness. Pictured: Dougie Brown, Belladrum Festival manager, Tamzene, Fiona Hyslop, and Iain Hamilton, head of creative industries at HIE. Picture: Malcom McCurrah/HIE

‘taking’ people on missions to Mars.” Perman said that performing arts organisations needed to think about extending the life of their work, by making it available online once a stage production has ended. Rosenthal added that “you can’t just ‘bolt’ digital on”; that a digital piece of work must be grown organically, with a clear vision in mind of its form and who it is trying to reach. Advocacy was important in developing content, she said, making consumers feel involved. Harris agreed; citing the power of simple word-of-mouth. Crowd funding, added Rosenthal, was not just about

raising money but about testing ideas and engaging audiences in the work. Asked about the role of “multinationals” in supporting small organisations, Grier said he thought there would always be a challenge in matching the aims of the two but acknowledged that we are in an era of “micromarkets”. Harris said he thought there was potential in small organisations with similar aims banding together. The panel agreed that there were still many remote communities that did not have even basic Internet access. In the short-term, community-based platforms might be one answer.


Technology

15 June 2017

The Royal Highland Show 13

Farming needs to get smart Scottish expertise is at the heart of a new global hub By William Peakin Precision agriculture or ‘smart farming’ makes use of GPS services, machine-to-machine and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, sensors and big data to optimise crop yields and reduce waste. As the global human population continues to grow towards a predicted high of 11.2 billion by the end of the century, according to United Nations estimates, analysts at Beecham Research have compiled a report urging the agricultural sector to do more to adopt smart farming technology to ensure sustainable food production can keep pace. Entitled Smart farming: The sustainable way to food, it highlights the importance of harnessing new technologies across the value chain, from technology providers and farm equipment suppliers to government policy-makers and producers in the field. “The United Nations Food and Agriculture Programme has noted that global production of food, feed and

fibre will need to increase by 70% by 2050 to meet the demands of a growing population,” said report co-author and Beecham chief research officer Saverio Romeo. “This means that to optimise crop yields and reduce waste, the agriculture and farming industries will need to rely heavily on IoT and machine-to-machine technologies moving forward. GPS services, sensors and big data will all become essential farming tools in the coming years and are clearly set to revolutionise agriculture,” he added. Beecham uses term “precision agriculture” to collectively describe these innovations, many of which are already in use in well-developed farming economies. While agriculture will always face unpredictable challenges, such as day-to-day weather events and longer-term climate change, giving producers more precise insight into their day-to-day work can lead to higher crop yields from the same or smaller resources, and more reliable production enabling better demand management, among other things, said Beecham. “Precision agriculture cannot solve all the problems [but] can help farmers control aspects of farming better and

Agriculture and farming industries will need to rely heavily on IoT and machine-to-machine technologies optimise results, as well as provide real-time information at a level of granularity not previously possible,” said report co-author Therese Cory. “This enables better, more accurate decisions to be made and results in less waste and maximum efficiency in operations. This particularly matters in an industry where margins can be tight, and savings of a few percent can amount to a great deal of money and precious resources,” she said. Beecham analysts said they also saw sensor-based technology and decision support systems coming to play a role

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in the post-harvest supply chain leading to the consumer, through detecting fraud, dealing with contamination, mitigating spoilage and food waste, and guaranteeing traceability from farm to plate. “Precision agriculture can help reduce significant losses in farming, solve problems of data collection and monitoring, and reduce the impacts of climate change,” concluded Romeo. “In the long term, we have no choice but to invest in the use of precision agriculture and smart farming because of the urgency of the problems the world faces.” Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is a core member of the recently formed Agri-Epi Centre, a global hub for agricultural engineering and precision

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14 The Royal Highland Show Crafts

15 June 2017

When a dream turns true Starting a business can be daunting, especially when that’s what you teach other people By William Peakin It was going to be the ultimate test of Patricia van den Akker’s role as a business adviser, trainer, coach and mentor, who declares on her website: “I am passionate about seeing people grow and develop, turning dreams into wonderful businesses or careers.” Could she turn her idea – a book, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, about starting a business - into a reality? Imagine the schadenfreude if the campaign did not meet its target - or worse; it succeeded and she failed to deliver. Van den Akker runs an online business school for craftspeople, The Design Trust, working with business owners, university graduates and craft networks, and specialises in advising on business planning, marketing, business modelling, selling, social media, costing and pricing and other aspects of building a business. When we speak, she has just spent time with eight new makers from Scotland, taking them around galleries during London Craft Week. It was

an initiative organised by Emergents, the community interest company supporting the development of creative careers, enterprise and the economy in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and beyond. “The idea [of a book] had been bubbling for a while,” said van den Akker. “Then for last year’s XpoNorth, I had been asked by Emergents to do some work on crowd funding, interviewing people in the craft sector who had used it successfully, which resulted on an e-book, and I thought: ‘Hm, I’ve got this idea for a book and I’ve gained all this knowledge about crowd funding; perhaps I can combine the two.’ “The idea behind Dream Plan Do is, first to think bigger and more strategically by setting big annual goals,” said van den Akker, “thought-provoking exercises and questions to uncover your real motivations and aspirations, and work on different aspects of your business each month. Then there is the ‘Plan’; how you will get from where you are now to where you want to be. And then the ‘Do’; doing the right things at the right time of the year with 12 consecutive monthly themes that build on each other.” The concept - comprising the book, a wall planner and a club “for creative professionals from across the world who want to join an online community of like-minded people

who are working on their creative business throughout 2017” – was conceived over the summer and the funding campaign was launched on Kickstarter in early October. “I knew, being a year-based book, that it would have to go out in December - therefore I knew that meant doing the campaign in October, which didn’t give me a lot of time!” Van den Akker wrote the first three chapters of the book and had prototypes printed. In early September, she commissioned a short film for her Kickstarter page, worked on a marketing campaign and wrote the rest of the book during September and October. When the Kickstarter campaign went live, van den Akker thought to herself: “What have I done? Me and my big mouth.” One in four Kickstarter campaigns fail, and if you don’t reach 30% to 40% of your target – van den Akker had set hers at £12,000 – within the first few days you become that statistic. But, by the end of November, she had sold had sold 650 books and raised more than £27,000. Buyers were located all over the world; Europe, America, Australia, Japan, India, Pakistan, Dubai and Brazil. Since the end of the campaign, after setting up a website, she has sold another 600, and despite it being

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Scotland has a thriving crafts business based on 2017 orders still trickle in. A Facebook group has been established, creating a new global business network for craftspeople. Van den Akker is now working on the 2018 edition and is looking

at spin-off ideas. She has also been approached by publishers. “Yes, I did think: ‘Me and my big mouth’, but it has meant that a lot of people have said: ‘You really know what you are talking about because you actually have done it’. And now I’m seeing people develop their own businesses because of it, and that’s wonderful.”


Provenance

15 June 2017

The Royal Highland Show 15

A story of history, people and place Harris Tweed Authority is looking to food and drink industry for lessons in traceability By William Peakin When Lorna Macaulay, chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority, and her team get into work on a Monday morning, one of their first tasks is to respond to people contacting them from around the world to discover the backstory of a piece of cloth that has become special in their lives. “Our inbox is full of stories from people who have been clearing the wardrobe of their late mother or father, or grandparent, and they have been moved to write an email with their story about the memories that a Harris Tweed jacket or hat evokes,” Macaulay told a conference session at the XpoNorth festival last week, exploring the power of provenance. “They will tell us what they intend to do to preserve it and ask for advice on how best to manage that. That’s provenance in its purest form.” Macaulay added: “They ask about how to access more of the same cloth, if it’s possible to discover the backstory of the exact piece of cloth they have – and that is a massive challenge for us. But going forward we recognise the power of a brand that moves people so much they want to pass it onto their children, along with its story – the history, the people, the place. “So, we are looking to the food and

“Growing up youngsters would not have been encouraged to go into the industry. Today, the most talented young people, desperate for a career in Harris Tweed, are queuing up” Lorna Macaulay

drink industry, particularly the shellfish sector, which is years ahead in terms of traceability, as a guide on how to achieve this. The aim is that when people buy a Harris Tweed item, they will be able to go to our website and punch in a number and they will be taken to beautiful content about that piece of cloth, and the story associated with it.” Macaulay told the audience how the Harris Tweed industry had developed over the past 150 years from a primary producer of cloth into a global brand. “We believe absolutely that it is because the discerning customer loves our story; the history, the people and the place. But our story must be authentic; one that is not twee. We must tell the truth; that it is not done on a wooden spinning frame –it is an authentic industry but it is a commercial manufacturing industry.” She said that it faced competition from other cloths, produced in Yorkshire, Italy and, increasingly, China. “There is the dilemma of telling a warm, authentic story but also being able to give an assurance that we can deliver a 20,000-metre order of cloth to a customer efficiently.” While Harris Tweed needs to innovate in terms of techniques, and cloth weight and finish, for Macaulay, the differential comes back to the story behind the cloth; of the men and women on the island, in the loom shed, working with their hands to produce cloths that reflect the beautiful colours of the natural environment. The royal connection – in 1843, Lady Dunmore saw the potential of the cloth and began promoting it among the aristocracy, including members of Queen Victoria’s inner circle – is a powerful one in Harris Tweed’s strongest market, Japan. And the Authority maintains a relationship with the Dunmore family to this day. But despite the success of Harris Tweed over the decades – in 1966 production peaked at 7.6m yards – in 2009, it came close to collapse. Without the intervention of a group of business people and the opening of a new mill, the industry – which provides year-round employment for 400 people - would have been lost, said Macaulay. The challenge now is not to be bigger – it is aiming for annual production of around 2m yards – but better, in maintaining and growing that special connection it has with its customers. That will be helped through its people: “Growing up on the islands, youngsters would not have been encouraged to go into the industry,” said Macaulay. “Today, the most talented young people, desperate for a career in Harris Tweed, are queuing up.”

Harris Tweed has developed from a primary producer of cloth into a global brand

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The Royal Highland Show 2017  
The Royal Highland Show 2017  
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