Farmers Weekly has launched a national Food Miles campaign to raise awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying local produce.

Announcing the results of an independent consumer survey commissioned by Farmers Weekly and supported by Triodos Bank, campaign director Julian Gairdner said:

“Our survey kicks off this major initiative and demonstrates there is a considerable lack of understanding about where food comes from.

“Nineteen per cent of people we polled thought oranges could be grown naturally in the UK.

Nearly half had no idea where their food came from.

We clearly need to reconnect their interest in British produce.”

The survey has attracted interest from national and regional broadcast media including the BBC.

The key activities of the campaign will last until mid-July when it is hoped the message to support local produce will have reached over five million people through the media, regional shows, and a major promotion at the Royal Show, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

“We will be providing an activity as part of the Royal Show’s schools’ education package and will also be presenting the prizes for our low food miles schools’ lunchbox competition which we launched at the end of April to coincide with the start of the summer term.”

Today’s issue of Farmers Weekly contains a campaign car sticker.

“We hope all our readers will display the sticker prominently and help spread the local food message as widely as possible,” Mr Gairdner said.

“It’s crucial that we reach people outside farming circles and we hope a number of spin-off activities organised by readers and campaign supporters will emerge as we gather momentum.”

Farmers Weekly has set up a dedicated food miles website which can be accessed through the food miles link on www.fwi.co.uk.

“There’s a wealth of information about the campaign, research, food miles and other useful web links.

“Most importantly, readers can register their support and back our petition calling on the supermarkets to do more to promote, stock and label locally produced food in a way that supports local producers and cuts down on food miles.”