Influencing the corridors of power

Labour and the Conservatives went head-to-head at the Royal Show, demonstrating that food and farming are of political importance to the current and possibly future government.

The Food Miles campaign was quick to attract support from DEFRA secretary David Miliband and Conservative leader David Cameron both of whom were vociferous in their backing at the show.

Mr Miliband presented prizes for the Low Food Miles lunchbox competition.

“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,” he said.

The Conservative leader – who attended the supermarket petition presentation – said:

“I am a great supporter of the campaign.

It is highlighting an issue that for too long has been overlooked.”

Earlier in the day, in an exclusive recorded interview for Farmers Weekly, he said he had even been growing cucumbers two feet from his back door.

“I’ve achieved food inches, not miles,” he said.

And wider support has come from an Early Day Motion tabled by Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown in Westminster.

Over 140 MPs have signed it, making it one of the most popular EDMs currently open.

Farmers Weekly has learned that support from over 100 MPs demonstrates a significant and meaningful endorsement.

In Scotland and Wales similar motions have also been as popular.

Roll of Honour
Support for the campaign has come from far and wide.

  • Over 140 people have been nominated as Food Miles Heroes – people going the “extra mile”…to cut food miles! A full list will appear on soon.

  • Formal support from celebrities, politicians and interested organisations came from:
Bach, Lord – former minister for farming and food
Beckett, Margaret – Foreign secretary, and former DEFRA secretary
Bellamy, Professor David – botanist, writer and broadcaster
Bradshaw, Ben – junior DEFRA minister
British Association for Shooting and Conservation
Burden, Ross – celebrity TV chef
Cameron, David – leader of the Conservative Party
Commercial Farmers Group
Country Land and Business Association
Countryside Alliance
Curry, Sir Don – government’s sustainable farming adviser
Emmanuel-Jones, Wilfred – the “Black Farmer”
FARMA (The Farmers’ Markets Association)
Farmers Union of Wales
Fearnley-Whittingstall, Hugh – celebrity TV chef
Fischer Boel, Mariann – EU agriculture commissioner
Friends of the Earth
Heart of England Fine Foods
Humble, Kate – TV presenter
Jeffrey, John – Farmers Weekly columnist and Scotland rugby ex-international
Knight, Jim – schools minister
Lang, Professor Tim – originator of “Food Miles” concept
Miliband, David – DEFRA secretary
National Farmers’ Union
National Farmers’ Union Cymru
National Farmers’ Union Scotland
National Trust, The
Paice, Jim – shadow farming minister
Parker-Bowles, Tom – Mail on Sunday columnist
Plaid Cymru
Pretty, Professor Jules – University of Essex
Rooker, Jeff – junior DEFRA minister
Royal Agricultural Society of England
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Stein, Rick – celebrity TV chef
Vickery, Phil – celebrity TV chef