NATIVE BREEDS of livestock that arose during a less intensive era of Scottish farming are now enjoying a headstart towards the industry's sustainability targets, as they require less manufactured inputs to thrive.

As such, rare varieties of livestock, some of which had declined to the point of being endangered, are now at the forefront of a food revolution where their environmentally-friendly, non-intensive genes are once again attracting a premium.

In recognition of this new commercial reality, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust – for decades a body dedicated to preserving heritage breeds from extinction – has set up a new awards programme to recognise those farmers and food businesses taking a lead on sustainability, often with those rare breeds as their foundation.

Entries are now open for the inaugural RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards. The winners of the 10 categories will receive their awards at a ceremony during this year's Royal Highland Show at Ingliston. The winners will be chosen from the entrants by a judging panel including RBST chairman and native breed farmer, John Atkinson; the creator of The Scottish Food Guide, Wendy Barrie; Scotland Food and Drink’s head of Regional Food, Fiona Richmond; and head of Food & Enterprise at SAC Consulting, Ceri Ritchie.

RBST vice president for Scotland, Martin Beard, who himself farms with native breeds in Angus, said: “Food and farming across Scotland has a proud heritage of working with the environment for sustainable production, often with the native breeds which have been bred for these landscapes over centuries.

"We are launching the new RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards to celebrate the innovative businesses of today which are leading the resurgence throughout Scotland of food and farming with sustainability at its heart. From farmers and butchers to chefs and retailers, I am delighted that we will be sharing their stories and commending their commitment to environmental sustainability.”

The ten categories for the new awards are:

  • Sustainable Farm of the Year (sponsored by Galbraith);
  • Sustainable Small Farm of the Year (sponsored by The Scottish Smallholder Festival);
  • Sustainable Food Producer of the Year (sponsored by Scotland Food & Drink);
  • Sustainable Butcher of the Year;
  • Sustainable Chef of the Year (sponsored by Scottish Food Guide);
  • Sustainable Produce Retail Outlet of the Year (sponsored by SAC Consulting);
  • Sustainable Market Stall Holder of the Year;
  • Native Breed Society of the Year (sponsored by Sarah’s Rosettes);
  • Sustainable Farming Communicator of the Year (sponsored by law firm Ledingham Chalmers);
  • Rare Breeds Survival Trust Champion of the Year (sponsored by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust).

Entries are free and paperless – the online entry form can be downloaded at and must be submitted to by May 7, 2022. Nominations can either be submitted by third parties or by the nominees themselves.