Richard Boddington from The Hub G63, Killearn based producer Gary McAlpine from Foragers Foods, Ruth Glasgow from The Hub G63 and Mark Ruskell MSP.
Richard Boddington from The Hub G63, Killearn based producer Gary McAlpine from Foragers Foods, Ruth Glasgow from The Hub G63 and Mark Ruskell MSP.

The launch of a new online farmers’ market in West Stirlingshire, Balfron NeighbourFood, attracted more than 150 locals to Balfron High on Monday night.

Nearly 300 people have already signed up to the new service, which allows locals to shop online for seasonal produce from a range of local farmers and producers. Collections will be held every Thursday evening from 5-7pm at Balfron High School.

Social Enterprise The Hub G63, which hosts the new market, has been blown away with the response.

Ruth Glasgow from The Hub G63 said: “It was great to get all our producers together and we were delighted at the level of interest and enthusiasm from everyone who came to meet them and find out more about the NeighbourFood concept.  It was a clear demonstration of the strong sense of community that we have in our local area.

“We believe that we’re reaching a turning point in the way people view food.  There’s been a lot of media coverage recently about the many ways in which the food system affects all of our lives and the planet we live on, and people are responding to that.  Given the choice, people want to buy food that supports local producers, that is nutritious and that doesn’t damage the environment.  And that’s what NeighbourFood is all about.”

Mark Ruskell MSP attended Monday’s launch to find out more. He said: “I was delighted to be invited by The Hub G63 to the launch of their new NeighbourFood hub. These types of food buying groups are popping up across my region and they reflect a real desire from communities to connect with where their food comes from.

“We are spoiled with a wealth of fantastic food producers in Stirling, but their produce isn’t always accessible or affordable for everyone. By cutting out the middle-man and working as a community in a food buying group like Neighbourfood, people can be confident their money is supporting local producers and benefiting the area.

“This is the Good Food Nation policy in action, and I hope the Scottish Government will commit to supporting the flourishing local food hub movement in the upcoming Good Food Nation bill.”

The Balfron market follows on from the popular Stirling NeighbourFood market, run by charity Forth Environment Link, which has sold over 6000 baskets of produce to date.