David Miliband showed his support for Farmers Weekly’s Food Miles campaign at the Royal Show on Monday (3 July) when he presented prizes to the winners of the low food miles school lunchbox competition.

Using educational material supplied by Farmers Weekly, the competition involved over 160 children from 10 schools, all of whom had to describe the impact that transporting food around the world has on the environment and on public health.

Presenting certificates to the winners, the DEFRA secretary said he was particularly encouraged by the level of understanding the children had demonstrated in their art work.

“The children have really grasped the important contribution that buying locally-produced food can make to preserving the environment, it’s very pleasing to see,” said Mr Miliband.

But he was keen to emphasise that sourcing locally-produced food should be about more than just backing Britain.

“Local sourcing should be about sourcing quality, not just patriotism,” he said.

Highlighting that 617m school dinners are served each year, he recognised that national and local governments had a role to play in sourcing locally-produced food.

The DEFRA secretary of state presented a cheque for 75 for first place to Catherine Child of Hearsall Community Primary School, near Coventry and a cheque for 35 to third-placed Lauren Smith.

Second-placed Oliver Clare of Chindhurst School, Surrey, was unable to attend, but will be awarded his 50 cheque and certificate next week.

Farmers Weekly will also meet the cost of the winning school’s visit to Ragley Home Farms, Warwickshire, a LEAF demonstration farm, where children learn how farming and preserving the environment work hand-in-hand.

andrew.watts@rbi.co.uk