GAIN in Scotland

In May of 2019, the Rural Youth Project (RYP), visited the Netherlands by way of an innovation safari (in partnership with Scottish Enterprise), organized by Jane Craigie of RYP and Dirk-Jan Kloet, a young Dutch agricultural entrepreneur. 

RYP is a research-based project in Scotland which aims to develop feasible strategies to facilitate the involvement of young people in agricultural and rural activity by better understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges and making comparisons between Scotland, England, Wales and other countries.

The innovation safari included a visit to Amped, Dutch Hub for the EU Smartchain H2020-project. Amped’s GAIN Transition Model (developed within the Smartchain-project) was instrumental in quickly identifying and sharing challenges, opportunities and sustainable ambitions. 

Marc van Woudenberg of Amped / Local2Local exchanges SFSC experiences with the delegation, guided by the GAIN Transition Model.

Amped hosted an outdoor session to explore the shared experiences and challenges in the short food supply chain (SFSC). Amped’s GAIN Transition Model was instrumental in quickly identifying these challenges, opportunities and sustainable ambitions.

The session generated enthusiasm among the delegates for GAIN and Amped’s SFSC-approach, and the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society Ltd (SAOS) and the Dourie Farming Company followed up with concrete requests for consultation and collaboration.

The participating delegation of Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society Ltd (SAOS) followed up for consultation sessions at Amped in July 2019.

SAOS representatives Tim Bailey (CEO), Alan Stevenson (Supply Chain Development Director) and Rory Christie (SAOS, Dourie Farming Company) visited Amped for two days of strategy sessions. 

The first day consisted of exploring the GAIN Transition Model, Amped’s innovation ecosystem, market approach and use cases. On day two we recapped and applied this approach to the specific case of Dourie Farming Company. Above all, the sessions and knowledge exchange resulted in a strong understanding of how to move forward in a constructive way: SAOS was convinced that Scotland’s lagging behind in SFSC-development could be partly mitigated by way of the GAIN’s mechanics and lessons learned. 

SAOS and partners embraced the stepping stones and committed to applying GAIN.

In early February 2020 Amped traveled to Edinburgh to meet and engage with the SAOS team, with two days of in-depth sessions, exploring GAIN and Local2Local further.

The first day took place at the SAOS head office, where the context and theory of GAIN and emerging consumer drivers were presented and discussed with the SAOS team and partner experts in wholesaling and marketing. The interaction focused on the practice of GAIN in the Scottish context in relation to Local2Local’s fundamentals and other case studies. 

The second day SAOS and Amped hosted a GAIN exploratory strategy session with the Scottish industry leaders and government representatives in Edinburgh in the first week of February of 2020:

  • James Withers – Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink 
  • Graham Young – Industry Development Director of Scotland Food & Drink
  • John Davidson – Head of Food and Drink Industry Growth, Scottish Government
  • Tim Bailey – CEO at SAOS
  • Alan Stevenson – Supply Chain Development Director at SAOS 
  • Rory Christie – Dourie Farming Company & SAOS
  • Mark Frederiks & Marc van Woudenberg – Amped / Local2Local

In a very open and frank atmosphere we explored the Scottish SFSC challenges and opportunities. The group went in-depth with a practical and realistic approach to the transitional aspects. 

The GAIN model’s level-approach laid bare important differences between short chains in the Netherlands and Scotland, but it also showed the ways in which the SFSC-movement in Scotland could skip pitfalls from lessons learned in the Netherlands. The overarching challenges are very similar in both countries. 

Mark Frederiks: “Yes, the Netherlands have enjoyed a positive shift to local food supply chains over the last 10+ years, but in a scale-dominant and consolidated market, local and regional SFSC-initiatives still face an uphill battle with a complex and thus fragile business model, in a race to the bottom. Many initiatives hit a ceiling [which we call ‘valley of death’] and can’t sustain themselves without subsidies. However, many are prime examples of ‘chains of trust’ and of people who are deeply motivated. The GAIN transition model provides a way to compile and (re)arrange what we already have, harness this trust and cooperate in a way that strengthens the movement without loss of identity and enables a meaningful and sustainable transition of the food system.”

The strategy sessions in Edinburgh made clear that the Scottish partners are keen to move forward and have committed themselves to further explore the GAIN-path and rollout the Scottish-Dutch collaboration.


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