In a new and innovative a sector like the bioeconomy, sustainable growth requires the sharing of information between the research base, businesses and supply chains.
We are connecting the sector by supporting interventions that add value locally and work towards developing a low carbon circular economy.
Through initiatives such as The Food Innovation and Yorkshire Agri-Food Networks, we are coordinating activity in a way that considers the bigger picture, by linking complementary initiatives with commercial opportunities.
Connecting over 400 Yorkshire businesses
Agri-food is a wide and varied sector which means that good communication is vital for businesses to collaborate effectively.
To help achieve this in April 2016, representatives of 13 food and farming networks in Yorkshire came together to create Agri-Food Yorkshire, an online data sharing platform.
To enable the development of the platform, the networks formed a bidding consortium to access funding from How’s Business, our business Growth Hub. In return, we are using the platform to better understand the issues affecting the industry, and help deliver our bio-economy objectives.
The group provides a secure forum for members to share data, news, events and opinions, as well as to encourage networking, signposting and horizon-scanning. It does not replace existing individual networks, but adds value by linking networks and providing access to a wider knowledge base. Members that can be reached through Agri-Food Yorkshire currently are in the thousands.
Some network members cover specific geographical areas or farming systems, such as upland farming in the Dales. Others are more generic in their coverage, for example the whole of Yorkshire. Many represent the interest of the entire agri-food supply chain whereas a few are specific to food and drink only. Diversity and collaboration creates value.
The UK Food Innovation Network
More recently, Agri-Food Yorkshire linked with the UK Food Innovation Network (FIN), based at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus at Sand Hutton near York. The FIN reports to the Agri-Food Technology Council and is an important part of the Government’s UK Food and Drink – International Action Plan 2016-2020.
Agri-Food Yorkshire is supporting the FIN in developing an effective knowledge sharing platform to enable Yorkshire SMEs to access R&D locally and nationwide. Jointly, both networks will connect in excess of 400 Yorkshire businesses to world leading science and research to create and optimise new market opportunities in the region.
You can find out more about FIN here.