A popular local food hub has made its return thanks to the efforts of a north-east man with a passion for supporting local.
Alastair Struthers, from Chapelton, has been an avid supporter of local businesses and producers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for many years. So when former online group, the Aberdeen and Shires Food Hub, sadly closed down several weeks ago, Alastair took it upon himself to rebuild the site for people in the local area.
The 37-year-old was eager to “resurrect it” as he believes that supporting local is vital in today’s economy, and hopes the hub will prove beneficial to both consumers and businesses alike.
He now features on the North East Now hub, a resource sharing inspirational and positive stories, encouraging people to do what they can to support the local economies in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Driven by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, the initiative is also supported by creative agency Hampton, Aberdeen Journals, Original 106 and VisitAberdeenshire.
Alastair said: “I was a customer of the previous north-east food hub, but when a lot of the people running it had to go back to work, it was sadly closed down.
“I, like many others, found the service so useful and loved being able to support local producers.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Working with the wider Great British Food Hub, Alastair is able to utilise their online platform to hold farmers’ markets and allow customers to buy from multiple local producers in one transaction.
He added: “Since taking on the challenge of resurrecting the service, I’ve been working with all the local producers who used the service before – and some new ones, too – who see the benefit in being part of such a great idea.
“I’ve had extra help from Pure Decadence by Loch Aurora, who have helped me source premises in the middle of Aberdeen. As well as their team, Hudson Catering are also helping out by providing me with the ability to transport chilled foods across the whole of Aberdeenshire.
“Everyone has been so supportive. It really is fantastic to know there are such great businesses in the north-east.”
On the hub itself, Alastair explained there are an array of different products on offer for people visiting the site. From indulgent home bakes, stylish fashion and footwear and beauty packages, to treats for our pets, there is something for everyone.
“We have everything from fruit and vegetables to sweet treats,” Alastair added.
“There are currently 30 producers on board with another two in the process of joining. They offer the likes of delicious ready meals, meats and dog treats, as well as products from a range of fantastic local breweries who are selling their craft beers, too!
“Essentially, I wanted the hub to bring the connection back between our local producers and those of us who live in the north-east.
“Over the years, we’ve all become so dependent on supermarkets that we’ve lost the connection to our local producers. But there are some fantastic products being made and some amazing produce being grown right here on our doorstep.
“By bringing all the products together in one place customers can easily support these suppliers with the convenience of one purchase, and either collect it from our city centre location – 2 Rubislaw Place, Aberdeen – on Tuesdays from 4-7pm or have it delivered to their door – across the whole of the city and shire.”
With the market now live – running every week from midday on a Wednesday up until midnight on a Sunday – Alastair was keen to spread awareness of his hub through the North East Now campaign.
Much like Alastair’s initiative, North East Now also boasts an online hub, providing consumers – who aim to support local firms which have been significantly affected since the Scottish Government introduced lockdown measures in March – with a one-stop online resource.
The website has also been sharing inspirational and positive stories, encouraging people to do what they can to support the local economies in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Like many others, Alastair is an avid fan of the platform, saying “it’s great for helping people in the north-east discover what’s on their doorstep”.
“It is just such a perfect fit for our food hub to be featured on as we’re doing very similar things. I’m really impressed with it!
“It has such a comprehensive range of information for accessing so much local information. I’ve never found a good site that’s managed to tie all this information together in the past, so having North-East-Now come onto the scene is a fantastic tool for everyone who lives in the area.
“Having the opportunity to get the Aberdeen and Shires Food Hub back up and running is so exciting. I hope it does what I set out for it to do.”
To visit the Aberdeen and Shires Food Hub, visit aberdeenandshirefoodhub.com
For more information on North East Now, visit northeastnow.scot