The School of Artisan Food has been shortlisted for a ‘Rural Oscar’ in the Countryside Alliance awards held to celebrate British food and farming.

Now in its 13th year, the ‘Rural Oscars’ have become the definitive rural business award to win. The awards received more than 11,000 nominations this year from members of the public.

The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate on the Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire border has made it onto a four-strong shortlist for the Rural Enterprise award for the chance to become the Regional Finalist for the whole of the Midlands.

Regional champions will be announced in March 2018 and will be invited to the House of Lords for the British finals.

The School works with local communities to tackle food poverty through education programmes targeted at young people; donates surplus bread to food charities and supports local small food producers.

It also works tirelessly to attract a variety of people – from 7 year olds and upwards – to engage with the thought-provoking, fun and informative programme of events, demos and lectures.

Julie Byrne, managing director, The School of Artisan Food, said:

We’re delighted to have this opportunity to showcase the work we do as a charitable enterprise to help create the next generation of bakers, butchers and artisan business start ups who will continue to fly the flag for using quality British produce combined with traditional artisan techniques. At every opportunity we promote ‘small food’ as a real, affordable and delicious alternative to ‘big food’ and as a way of bringing communities together. We are totally committed to improving the life chances of those students who would not be able to attend the school as we have a strong sense of social justice and promote social mobility at all times. Winning the award would enhance the school’s reputation and help it to realise its ambition to be a thought leader at a local, regional and national level.

Overall champions are chosen by a panel which includes the food writer and Masterchef judge, William Sitwell, Philip Johnston of the Daily Telegraph, Emma Penny of Farmers Guardian and Peter Gott of Sillfield Farm.

Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented:

We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year. The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services. They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.

The Welbeck Farm Shop on the Estate has also made it onto the shortlist for the Local Food/Drink category. Opened in 2006 and the proud owner of an award-winning inhouse butchery, the Welbeck Farm Shop is found at the heart of a vibrant artisan food community.

Two thirds of the shop’s product range is sourced from, or prepared at, the historic Welbeck estate. Focussing on low food miles, artisan food tradition and rigorous taste testing has earned a reputation as one of the country’s top farm shops.

More information about the awards can be found here: