THE Scottish Smallholder Festival, the event for smallholders and those aspiring to small scale farming and growing, is under new management.

Smallholding Scotland, the member-led organisation dedicated to representing, promoting and supporting smallholding across the country, has taken over the running of the event from the previous organisers.

The festival was started in 2012 by a small group of smallholders, including Rosemary and Dan Champion, who were inspired by a visit to the Welsh equivalent event in 2009.

Rosemary and Dan have remained part of the organising team and were joined by Martin Beard in 2013.

Martin said: “We’ve loved it – but it’s time for an organisation rooted in the smallholding community to take over the event and bring a new perspective and new energy.”

The first decision by the trustees of Smallholding Scotland is to alternate the event between the two Lawrie & Symington venues – with the festival taking place in Forfar in even years and Lanark in odd years, so the 2019 event will take place on Saturday, September 28, at Lanark Agricultural Centre.

Smallholding Scotland’s Secretary, Arnot Tippett, who has a smallholding in Angus, said: “Moving the event between the two venues means that more smallholders can get along at least every second year. As smallholders ourselves, we know that it can be hard to get time away from the holding.”

However, Martin and Rosemary will be maintaining a keen interest in the event – both are trustees of Smallholding Scotland and will be taking up roles within the organising team.

The team now includes Sandra Bannister and Laura Turner, who are looking after Rural Skills and Crafts and Cath Livingstone, who is picking up the livestock remit.

The Festival had enjoyed the support of a number of sponsors over the years, including the Scottish Government which has confirmed that it intends to support the Festival further.

Rosemary added: "We’re delighted that the Scottish Government is continuing support of the event at least until 2020, having been a major supporter since 2016. I’m looking forward to the 2019 event already – hopefully, I’ll get to see a bit more of it this year!”