Meet the team

Steering Group

  • Martin Beard

    Chair of Steering Group

    Parkhill House

    Martin and his family have a small farm in Angus, keeping rare breed pigs, sheep, goats and poultry, selling produce locally and at Arbroath Farmers Market. 

    He is a Trustee and Director of a number of charities both locally and across Scotland. He is involved in running the Scottish Smallholder Festival at Forfar each year.  

    Particularly interested in sustainability and provenance, and passionate about local food and drink.

  • Fiona Walsh

    Interim Coordinator

    Toll House Spirits

    Since graduating with a business & languages degree in 1999, Fiona has been involved in the drinks industry for Diageo, SAB Miller, La Martiniquaise & Lucozade Suntory. She has worked in senior sales & marketing roles with globally recognised brands Guinness, Smirnoff, Tanqueray, Peroni & Label 5.

    Following the birth of her 1st son, Fiona decided to take the leap into self-employment and set up a small business support agency, Small Brands; Big Ambition, supporting the food & drink sector in Scotland. By bringing big brand know-how to small start-up businesses, she helps clients on their journey from concept to launch & beyond.

    In early 2017, she created the award winning Redcastle Gin recipe, working with Arbroath based distiller Lewis Scothern, and in 2020 formed Toll House Spirits, named after the Taranty Toll House near Brechin, the childhood home of her late mum.

    Born and brought up in Monifieth, to Angus born parents, Fiona is passionate about the local food & drink industry, believes in the importance of collaboration, provenance and honesty, and loves the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit we have across this fabulous county. As a mum to 2 small boys, life is never dull, but she wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • Daniel Muir

    Steering Group Member

    Supply Chain Scotland

    Daniel Muir runs Supply Chain Scotland, helping clients improve their supply chain processes and business results. With 20+ years experience in leading Scottish food & drink companies he is passionate about promoting best practice in forecasting, planning, customer service and logistics – and helping the food and drink sector and the Scottish economy prosper.

    He joined A4A to help develop and facilitate some of the key activities that were highlighted at the first meeting he attended – particularly around collaboration and distribution.

    He is a keen cyclist and the more energy he uses cycling, the more food and drink he can enjoy with a relatively clear conscience!

  • Louise Nicoll

    Steering Group Member

    Newton Farm

    Director of Newton Farm Holidays & Tours.

    Louise with her husband Graeme run a mixed arable farm of 550 acres between Forfar and Dundee where she has an authentic farm offering with farmhouse B&B, a self catering cottage and hands on educational farm experiences and alpaca walking.  They sell fresh farm eggs and produce lamb, Aberdeen Angus and Limousin cattle and Boer goat.

    Passionate about agritourism, inclusive tourism and the customer experience in Angus.

    Louise, a Rural Leader, is active in several roles in the local Forfar community and beyond where individuals and businesses collaborate to benefit all.

    National winner of VisitScotland Thistle Award for ‘Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House’ 2018/19 and regional winner of ‘Best Outdoor Experience’ 2018/19.

  • Michelle Porter

    Steering Group Member

    Balhungie Berry Farm

    Together with husband David, Michelle runs Balhungie Berry Farm in Monifieth. They grow 20 acres of strawberries, 6 acres of raspberries, 150 acres of potatoes and 600 acres of cereal crops. 

    In the summer months, Michelle runs a fabulous farm shop and berry farm experience, selling their own produce as well as collaborating with other local producers by hosting pop-ups and stocking their products in the shop.

  • Ceri Ritchie

    Steering Group Member

    SAC Consulting

    Ceri is a strategic thinker with over 35 years’ management and marketing experience in the UK food and agricultural sector, Ceri has held a number of senior positions in both SRUC and the Cooperative Wholesale Society; and has worked on a number of projects ranging from regional economic strategies and major Scotland-wide projects to one-to-one company advice. Ceri also managed Connect Local, the Scottish Government’s Local Food & Drink Marketing Advisory Service from 2016 to 2020 and delivered advice and support to businesses as part of this service.

    Prior to joining SAC Consulting Ceri was a Commodity Group [Category] Manager, Senior Buyer, Buyer and Product Manager with the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Manchester. This involved procuring, developing and managing multi-million pound product ranges within this national UK multiple retailer.

    Ceri has held a number of industry-wide roles including representing SRUC on the Scotland Food and Drink Executive Group from 2007 to 2017. Ceri is a member of the Cross Party Group for Food, a Skills Ambassador for the Food and Drink Federation Scotland and a STEMNET Ambassador. 

    Ceri is a skilled project manager and has managed a number of projects in her time at SRUC. More recently Ceri has focussed on supporting and developing Scotland’s local food & drink and food tourism businesses. 

  • Helen Margaroli

    Steering Group Member

    Helen started in hospitality as an end to finding the means to fund travel while backpacking through Australia after leaving university in 2011. It sparked a career turnaround for Helen and she has been in the hospitality industry ever since. Although originally from Angus, Helen grew up in the USA, The Netherlands and spent the majority of her youth traveling.
    The covid-19 pandemic motivated Helen and her husband, Wouter, to move back to Angus and open their restaurant, Rae’s in Montrose. Rae’s has evolved into a catering and hospitality consultancy business.
    The Rae’s concept is hyper-focused on local produce and local talent. Rae’s promotes the best Angus produce and aims to inspire others to use Angus’ rich larder rather than looking further afield.