FARMERS IN Leicestershire are hoping to benefit directly from the momentum of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver‘s campaign for better school food.

Through the Melton Mowbray Food Partnership, which includes local government, manufacturers, retailers and producers, they plan to bid for a catering contract at a local school.

The initiative is being seen as a pilot, and if it proves a success, could be rolled out to bid for other contracts in the county and nationwide, said chairman Matthew O‘Callaghan

“It‘s crazy that the County accepts tenders for the cheapest food for our kids while at the same time, the government is giving farmers subsidies to diversify away from farming,” he said.

The plan has found widespread backing in the county, with Council education spokesman Ivan Ould telling a local newspaper that he would support anything that helped local farmers.

The government last week (w/e Apr 1) announced an extra £280m of funding for school dinners, which should raise the average spent on ingredients from 37p a meal to 50-60p.