FARM SHOPS and agri-businesses can soon accept ‘Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards’, as part of a campaign to encourage local spending.

The card is being rolled out across all of the country’s 32 local authority areas, with the aim of boosting support for local businesses.

The first year of administration costs are being met by the Scottish Government as part of its £10m of support for Scotland Loves Local – the campaign launched last year which urges people to think local first, for all of their needs.

During the pandemic, the public became more concerned with where their food came from and as a result support for local producers and businesses soared. But as Covid-19 restrictions lift, there are concerns that people will return to old shopping habits.

Farm shops have been identified as key to boosting their area’s economy, by keeping shoppers local for for longer, which is why they are being targeted as part of the new scheme to help retain money in the local area.

Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), Phil Prentice – the organisation behind the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign – explained that the increase in people visiting farm shops during the pandemic is a trend that rural communities cannot afford to dip.

He is urging farm shop owners – as well as agritourism, farm cafe and farm park attractions – to sign up to accept local gift cards soon to be rolled out in their areas.

“If there’s a positive that can come from the pandemic, it is the way in which many people have rediscovered and enjoyed local produce and local businesses – and it has been fantastic to hear how people have got behind farm shops.

“It’s in everyone’s interests for these good habits not to be lost, so that we can build stronger, successful, more sustainable communities,” said Mr Prentice.

“The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is a fantastic way of doing that and every single community in the country can benefit. It will engender loyalty and pride, giving people another reason to use their local businesses, of which farm shops and agri-enterprises are vital parts of our rural communities.

"They have an important role to play in locking in that local spending, boosting the economy.”

Community Wealth Minister, Tom Arthur, has urged businesses to register for the scheme: “In the coming months we will further bolster the Scotland Loves Local (SLL) campaign with the second tranche of our SLL Fund, helping communities revitalise their own towns or neighbourhoods, building wealth and delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”

Scotland Loves Local has had strong support from communities across Scotland since its launch last year. It has led to a series of hyperlocal marketing programmes being spun off from it, celebrating local business and produce.

Local cards – which can be accepted by businesses of all kinds – will be launched regionally over the coming months, as councils agree to lead the scheme in their area.

n For more information about the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, including how to sign up, go to