Smallholding Scotland Conference Programme 2019

Smallholding Scotland Conference Programme 2019

The conference has a single stream, providing six presentations in all throughout the day.

Registration and refreshments start at 9:00am with the first sessions starting at 9:30am. The conference will close at around 5pm. The full programme:


9:00 – Registration


9:30 – Welcome and introductions and Conference open session

Raise and discuss the issues that matter to YOU as a smallholder in Scotland!


10:00 – CONNECT LOCAL – smallholders and local food: Ceri Ritchie, SAC Consulting

Ceri Ritchie is Sector Manager for food and drink at SAC Consulting and has been involved in the industry for over 30 years. She manages Connect Local, the Scottish Government’s local food and drink marketing advisory service, which is a collaborative project with SAC, SAOS, Scotland Food & Drink and Seafood Scotland.  Ceri has been involved with Scotland Food and Drink since its inception, is a member of the Cross Party Group for Food, a Skills Ambassador for the Food and Drink Federation Scotland and a STEMNET Ambassador.  Ceri will give delegates an update on food market trends, the latest news on food and drink in Scotland and an overview of Connect Local and the part that smallholders could play in the initiative.


10:50 – Refreshments


11:20 – Good Food Nation and smallholding : Pete Ritchie, Executive Director, Nourish Scotland

Pete is the executive director of Nourish Scotland. His role includes engaging with policy-makers and stakeholders as well as working for change from the bottom-up with grassroots groups. As well as working at Nourish, Pete runs Whitmuir Organics with his partner Heather Anderson. Pete is going to talk about the Good Food Nation Bill and will discuss how smallholders might want to respond.


12:10 – Soil, drought management and long term sustainability : Sam Parsons, Balkaskie Estate

Sam Parsons is the estate manager for the Balcaskie Estate. Sam has been at the forefront of the transition of the estate to organic status, and has been a pioneer in initiatives such as mob-grazing and wild farming. Sam will be joining us on the 15th February to talk about soil, drought management and long term sustainability within the context of modern farming.


13.00 – Lunch, provided by the excellent Pitcairngreen Inn


13.50 – Crofting and smallholding : Russell Smith, Chair, Scottish Crofting Federation


14:40 – Smallholdings in the wider agricultural context :  Jeremy Parker, NFU(S)

Jeremy Parker is the regional Group Secretary for NFU Scotland, and an NFU Mutual Agent responsible for the office at Forfar covering Dundee and Angus region. Jeremy became an NFU Mutual agent in 1994, firstly near Oxford and then for 13 years at Crediton, near Exeter, before moving to the Forfar office in 2011. Jeremy has a wealth of experience in farming, rural, commercial, fleet and personal insurance. As a farmer’s son, Jeremy particularly enjoys his NFU Scotland Group Secretary role; meeting, advising and assisting local farmers.

Jeremy will be talking about the place that smallholdings have in the wider agricultural context, and in particular how they can work better, and be fit for purpose as contributors to the landscape. He will give an update on the latest political situation.


15:40 – Engaging with your community : Rebecca Dawes, Open Farm Sunday

Rebecca is the Scottish Co-ordinator for LEAF Open Farm Sunday, an initiative that sees nearly 400 farmers, crofters and smallholders open their gates annually on one Sunday in June (9th June 2019). Her family also take part each year and to date have hosted 11 LEAF Open Farm Sunday events plus many others including lambing, “all about ewe”, the farming Christmas nativity, a book of farming, school visits and numerous other days linked to food, farming and nature. These events have ranged from 10 to 3500 people running from one hour to a full-day.

Rebecca has a First-Class Honours degree in Events Management and is a graduate of the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme. She is a Judge for Lantra Scotland Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards. Co-Manager of the Rural Youth Project and works full-time for Jane Craigie Marketing, an agency that specialists in the agricultural and rural sector. She also has her own herd of pygmy goats but has yet to try goat yoga!!

Rebecca will give the conference a really good insight and plenty of examples from her experience of Open Farm Sunday to help our members learn more about engaging with the public, helping promote/sell their goods/services and running the event.


16:30 – Refreshments & networking


17:00 – Close


The venue

The 2019 conference is being held at Pitcairngreen Village Hall near Perth, the venue’s postcode is PH1 3LR.

Buy tickets online

Tickets are on sale now priced £25 or £40 including 12 months membership of Smallholding Scotland (effective from 15th February for new members and 1st April for existing members through to 31st March 2020).

Payment by debit card, credit card or PayPal account. NB: Last date for online orders is Wednesday 13th February 2019.

Buy tickets online now