THE man who founded Scotland’s first farmers’ market in Perth two decades ago has announced he will be campaigning for a Holyrood seat.

Jim Fairlie, who also co-founded Farmers for Yes, has launched his campaign to secure the nomination to be the SNP's candidate for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire.

After 25 years, SNP stalwart Roseanna Cunningham has announced that she will not be seeking re-election in the May 2021 Holyrood elections.

Fairlie, who was born and bred in Perthshire, joins Stephen Gethins, Cunningham’s current aide Calum Smith, and Strathmore councillor Fiona Sarwar in vying for the SNP nomination.

Fairlie, a first-generation farmer, has said he is “determined to build on [his] record of public service and become the new voice of the constituency in Holyrood”.

The Fairlie family has long been associated with campaigning for Scottish independence. The SNP hopeful’s father, also Jim, and older brother Phil, have held senior positions in the party, while his late brother, Andrew, the globally-renowned chef who ran Scotland’s only two Michelin star restaurant, was on the Yes 2014 campaign Advisory Board.

READ MORE: SNP selection contest in Perth as Stephen Gethins joins four-way battle for seat

A life-long advocate for Scottish independence, Fairlie said he feels the time is right for him to use his experience for the benefit of the constituency by becoming the MSP in representing Perthshire South and Kinross-shire.

He said: “The message that I am getting from members is that there are many local issues that need our attention.

“Whether it is the from the impact of flooding, the distress of inadequate housing, the problems resulting from drug abuse, the threat to jobs due to Covid-19 or the recent widespread littering from fly tipping and dirty camping, I know that these are just some of the issues troubling people right now, and I am ready to address them as the local MSP.”

Fairlie set up Scotland’s first farmers’ market and has worked with both local and national governments to help promote better eating habits and food education in schools. He has also been called upon to advise upon and promote the quality of Scotland’s food and drink industry, and was at the forefront of the Buy Local Eat Local and Farm to Fork movements over the past 20 years.

With his varied experience, Fairlie said he “has the knowledge and connections, locally and nationally and established over the years”, to make him an “effective and visible” member of the Scottish parliament. He said: “I will absolutely have constituents’ concerns at the forefront of my thinking.

“I am a great believer in collaborative working and will consider all constructive suggestions and input from the people on the ground.

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"I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the issues and finding solutions to help improve the lives and opportunities for all our communities.”

Fairlie said he believes the effects of the post Covid-19 economic impact and the assaults on devolved powers to enable the creation of the newly styled “UK internal market” will result in Scotland facing an unprecedented crisis.

Talking about these issues, he said: “There is no doubt that the world has changed quite dramatically for all of us in recent years, and there are some major factors we are going to have to deal with, whether it’s financial, environmental or constitutional. “It seems to me that the best people to make decisions about how we resolve these issues are the people who live here.

“With the full powers of an independent Scotland that is what I will be fighting for, because I believe that from independence, all else flows.”