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Published: 09 May 2018

Creative Entrepreneurship in Rural Scottish Food Tourism

Gastrocert, a European funded project focused on understanding the ways local, small scale entrepreneurs support sustainable development of rural economies and cultures.

Group of people looking at cured meat on a hook

Taking place across four case study sites in Scotland, Sweden, Spain and Italy between 2015 and 2017, the project utilised interdisciplinary approaches and participatory methods to examine the role of entrepreneurs in enhancing the sustainability of rural places.

Focused on the Scottish dimension of the project, University of Surrey’s Dr Anna de Jong, worked with colleague Professor Peter Varley (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences) to examine the ways entrepreneurs at the local level interpret and enact national food and tourism policies. This required collaborating with Lochaber destination marketing organisations, hoteliers, restaurateurs and producers in the implementation of a range of engagement and promotional activities that formed part of Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink. It was found that the Scottish Government and Scotland Food and Drink’s current themed year approach to touristic promotion, contrasts with national sustainability agendas.

Through a series of workshops, presentations, blog posts, news articles and journal articles, de Jong and Varley have called for the need in longer term support structures within Scotland, enabling meaningful engagement across scale, as a way to assist entrepreneurs in developing sustainable rural projects.

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