Leicestershire County Council is calling on farmers to supply food for school meals.
The council has launched a pilot project to establish the feasibility of drawing more food for school meals from local farm businesses.
If it is successful, the education chiefs will invite farmers to tender for contracts to replace the existing agreements, which expire in 2008.
The council has added that its aim in encouraging schools to buy food supplies from local farmers is to boost the rural economy.
The move has been given a warm welcome by local NFU spokesman Steve Jeal, who said: “We are really pleased about this. We hope there is money forthcoming so that the food brought into schools kitchens in Leicestershire is based on quality rather than price.
“The countryside that our children enjoy is there because of the high standards of our farmers, so it’s about education as well. The more we can produce locally, the better,” said Mr Jeal.
County councillor Matthew O’Callaghan – who has spearheaded the plan – said he found it strange that the local authority paid farmers to diversify, but did not give them the opportunity to bid for contracts such as school provision.
“Most food at the moment comes from national suppliers, rather than the farmer next to them. This will also teach children about where food comes from. It’s going back to how things used to be in the 1930s.”
- If you want to know more about the project or want to know how to get involved, call Wendy Philp on 01530 278 123
- What do you think about local farms providing food provision for schools?Have your say on our forums
- Look at our Food Miles Campaign for information and facts about how local food can be miles better