Local Food Show Heads To Carlisle

This March, Carlisle will welcome a brand new food show, bringing together the best of our local produce to showcase all that the region has to offer in food and drink.

There is always a new ‘foodie’ event coming to Carlisle, but The Local Food Show boasts a concept which will be a first for the city. Taking place on Thursday March 23, the event will celebrate the region’s rich array of produce, inviting businesses from Cumbria, South West Scotland and Northumbria to exhibit their produce to people of the tourism industry, public sector, hoteliers and B&B’s.

The Local Food Show, which will be held at H & H Bordermart, is being driven forward by Emma Dixon, Partnership Manager at Carlisle City Council and Hannah Dolan who runs business events company Ivention, along with Keith Jackson, a researcher at the University of Cumbria. Sponsors of the event include, McVities, Nestle, Armstong Watson, Bendles Solictors and Carlisle City Council.

The event is one of a number of projects pioneered by Carlisle City Council to raise the profile around food from a number of perspectives including, health and wellbeing, economic and community. Back in 2012, the council became one of the founding members of the national Sustainable City scheme and Emma has been on board since the beginning.

Emma explained: “We thought we weren’t able to visualise enough who our local food producers were and actually, wouldn’t it be great to try and get local food producers into our independent and local cafes, organisations and businesses, so that’s where the idea came from.”

The event will see 60 – 80 local producers’ stalls, as well as breakout sessions and demonstrations throughout the day from a number of successful local entrepreneurs. Andrew Dunning of Liberty Leisure Wear, will address the importance of business branding, while Luke Jackson, one half of Bruce and Luke’s coffee will discuss how social media has worked a treat for their increasingly expanding company. TV star and chef, with over 30 years of experience in the hotel trade, Chris Walker, will be sharing his own personal experiences of bringing local food to local people.

In the evening those who have exhibited will be invited to a dinner, cooked by catering students of Carlisle College, which will serve as a networking event, with opportunities to speak to other businesses.

Hannah said: “This is about including the whole region in the centre and making a focus of what we do well.”

She added: “Smaller food producers may not know how to market, so it’s facilitating that environment where they can speak to these people.”

The Local Food Show brings a unique concept to the area and the perfect opportunity to show off some of the incredible goods produced here, not just nationally, but to businesses in this region too. One of the producers making an appearance, supplies her jam made with “rose petals from my garden” to Fortnum and Mason in London, while The Lakeland Hamper Company recently started to supply to Not On The High Street. And all this just down the road. The event will offer other local producers the chance to get involved and join the local food revolution.

Emma said: “It really supports local businesses, it promotes us as an area, and it gives us something that is a little bit different.

“I know in other places bed and breakfasts do a 30 mile radius for their produce and it’s a real selling point and big boost for the economy, so if we can start to support these local connections, even more so, it allows us to develop community based projects.

“There’s some really important work around food banks and Fair Meals Direct, which are cooking meals and taking them out to elderly residents, which was really enabled through some of this work.”

Hannah added: “More than anything, we are very good at local produce in this area and it’s something we should be shouting about. I think that’s the main reason for doing this, so the country can see what we actually can provide.”

The Local Food Show has the potential to be revolutionary for the food and drink industry in Cumbria. Encouraging people to make the most of the delicious produce on their doorstep, is just the beginning.

Emma said: “We definitely want to explore where we can take it. This is the pilot year so I’m sure we are going to learn a lot from it and we are very keen to hear feedback from people to make it as successful an event as we possibly can.”

The Local Food Show is open to the public, from 12pm – 5pm on Thursday 23 March. For more information visit www.localfoodshow.co.uk



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