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Bowhouse: Turning the landscape into a foodscape
- Eating and Drinking Guide
- 17 April 2019
How a Fife farming estate is putting small artisan businesses at the heart of its vision to transform local connections to food
Bowhouse is a project as much as it's a place. Centred on an old farm steading in the Balcaskie Estate, it's located just off the main road between the coastal villages of Elie and St Monans in the East Neuk of Fife. While the once dominant fishing industry has dwindled and disappeared from most of the local harbours, the area is still known for its connections to the sea, and shellfish in particular is still caught just offshore. In the adjacent farmland, malting barley, wheat, oilseed rape, potatoes, broccoli and soft fruits are grown while beef and lamb are finished, with wild roe deer and other game found in and around woodland areas. Much of this food leaves the area for other markets, but Bowhouse is looking to disrupt the current patterns and replace a missing link in the local food chain by making it easier for local people to connect directly with local growers, producers and ingredients, thus retaining more of this array of food for the people who live in and visit the area.
At its heart, Bowhouse is a gathering place for people who really care about food. It is a manifestation of the importance of rural community and positive collaboration in the production and curation of good food. It's one thing to notice the potential for the farms, shores and coastal waters of the East Neuk to produce good food, but it's another to realise the potential. By providing the right kinds of spaces for food production, enterprise, collaboration and gatherings – including colourful, enjoyable and high-quality indoor markets and food events bringing producer and public together – Bowhouse looks to shorten local supply chains, focus on provenance and allow individuals to feel empowered to change the way food is produced around them.