A major project to boost Cornwall’s food, drink, farming and fishing industry in has received over half a million pounds in grant funding.

Great Cornish Food has been given a £554,800 investment towards its plans to make Cornwall and Scilly the UK’s number one region for low-impact food production. 

The money comes from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme, which is managed by Cornwall Council and funded by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The team behind Truro’s award-winning Great Cornish Food Store launched the project earlier this month with the aim of building the strength, success and resilience of local food producers, who account for almost one in five jobs in the local economy.

It comes at a crucial time for the UK’s food industry, with global food supply threats and subsidy reforms highlighting the need for more robust and sustainable domestic food production.

Great Cornish Food will provide access to a wide range of skills, knowledge and tools to help businesses boost performance, attract talent, find new customers and explore new markets. Half of the Good Growth funding will go towards a new scheme offering easy-access grants of up to £5,000 (match-funded by the applicant and paid in arrears) to support eligible projects.

There will be a focus on the wider adoption of clean and green practices in food production, and the creation of an awards scheme to promote, encourage and celebrate excellence. 

A new Great Cornish Food Academy will inspire budding food entrepreneurs and attract new talent into the industry, by showcasing career opportunities available to school pupils as well as older people considering a career change.

Ruth Huxley, managing director of the Great Cornish Food Store and founder of industry body Cornwall Food & Drink, said: “Cornwall and Scilly are renowned for the quality of their produce, but the industry is also facing headwinds in the shape of subsidy reform, the need to decarbonise and cost pressures.

“We want our agri-food businesses to be best in class, and this project aims to help them achieve that by showcasing, sustaining and evolving our food and drink industry in a new and engaging way - delivered by people in the industry, for the industry.”

Cllr Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, said: “We’re delighted to backing this important sector, and hope that food and drink producers across Cornwall and Scilly will get involved.

“By investing in our agri-food sector, we not only support local businesses but also promote job creation, enhance food security, safeguard the environment, and contribute to the resilience of our region's economy.”

To find out more about the Great Cornish Food project, visit www.cornwallfoodanddrink.co.uk/raising-the-bar