Support for Farmers Weekly’s Food Miles campaign Local Food is Miles Better continued apace this week when the number of registrations for the petition reached 5,232.

With the formal part of the campaign being concluded last week (21 July), readers have responded to the call to make the campaign last and for more people to sign the supermarkets petition to keep up pressure on the retailers, campaign director, Julian Gairdner, said.

“We’re really pleased interest continues – that was always the ambition. Registrations are still coming in, in significant numbers, via our link-up with streetmap.co.uk. And earlier this week we received a large batch of signatures completed at a number of farmers markets, organised by one of our readers.”

The Food Miles campaign petition was formally announced at the Royal Show earlier this month when Farmers Weekly wrote to chiefs of all the major retailers seeking clarification on their position on food miles now, and in the future.

“So far we’ve received a response from Sainsbury’s, with the promise of a reply from Waitrose,” Mr Gairdner said. “We’ll be chasing up the others.”

In his letter, Sainsbury’s chief executive office Justin King explained: “Last year we reduced our road mileage by almost 5% – this equates to 29,000 trips a year that we have taken off the road, exceeding our target by 3% against a 2004/5 baseline.

“Last year we sold over £6bn of British products…to build on this and to make it easier for small- and medium-sized producers to supply us we have set up an innovative scheme, Supply Something New.

“Under the scheme, small producers that have not previously worked with us are given the opportunity to make a pitch to senior colleagues to supply us with their products.

“Our aim is to increase by 50% the number of small British firms supplying us.”

Give us your thoughts on how supermarkets could innovate to help you choose food with lower food miles. Why not post a comment on our forum.