Liverpool-born celebrity chef Aiden Byrne has this week launched the Food Tourism Connect project, which will champion food produced in the Liverpool City Region.
Food Tourism Connect is funded by the Rural Development Programme for England.
The initiative is a commitment to raising the profile of rurally produced food among visitors to Liverpool City Region and to drive demand by promoting it direct to consumers, buyers and wholesalers.
Funding was successfully secured from the Rural Development Programme for England, with Defra as the Managing Authority.
A wide variety of local producers have already signed up to the project, including Claremont Farm on the Wirral, Acorn Farm in Kirkby, Aintree-based bread makers French Corner and George Wright Brewery in Rainford.
Kirkby-born Aiden, formerly head chef at the Dorchester and the youngest ever chef to receive a Michelin Star, supports the campaign because of his own commitment to using locally grown, fresh ingredients.
This region has a great deal to celebrate when it comes to food production. The food we produce is of the highest quality and it is about time we started creating a strong brand in the way other food producing regions have.
The Food Tourism Connect project is a much-needed way of enabling local suppliers to showcase their businesses to a wider audience, and I hope that it will be of great benefit to these rural businesses in our region.
Pam Wilsher, Head of Visitor Economy Development at Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership commented that the Food Tourism Connect will support the local economy by promoting rural producers directly to consumers.
By raising their profile in the area in which they operate the hope is to stimulate demand for food grown in the Liverpool City Region.
Since there is already great interest in the project, it is anticipated that it will be a great success.
This project is great news for rural businesses like ours. We know that the quality of our products is such that we could easily attract a wider customer base, but it is reaching that wider audience that can be difficult.
We already supply a number of local businesses within the Liverpool City Region with our produce, but we want to work with more and explore other avenues such as hotels and into the public sector, which has proven tricky in the past.
This fantastic project will hopefully see the barriers we've faced brought down and give us a chance to supply a different range of businesses.Andrew Pimbley, manager of Claremont Farm on the Wirral