12 September 2001
Eat local, urge charity’s celebs

By Isabel Davies

THE Council for the Protection of Rural England has launched a new celebrity-backed campaign aimed at persuading people to support local food initiatives.

The charity has produced a briefing document which says that sustainable local foods could help reconnect consumers with farmers and also help the environment.

TV restaurateur Rick Stein, who is backing the campaign, said local food initiatives are where people should be buying more of their food.

“It is common sense to support those who grow good produce around where we live.

“We can support the economy and really have a choice about the food we buy – the producers get a fairer deal too.”

Rosalind Adams, who plays Clarrie Grundy in The Archers, said there were huge benefits for the elderly or immobile who had problems getting supplies of fresh food.

“They can provide a welcome boost to employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas,” she added.

“Increasing the supply and demand for local foods will be very valuable for rural communities.”

The document Sustainable Local Foods says it aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding local food.

It argues that cheap food is not cheap because it does not reflect the costs to the environment and health or the extent of public subsidies.

It maintains that local foods are not niche market or exclusive because they improve consumer choice and accessibility to quality produce.

Georgina Dobson, CPREs rural policy officer, said: “Sustainable local foods need to move centre stage as the government seeks new policies for a prosperous and sustainable future for farming.”