Ministers urged to boost local food

16 October 2001

Ministers urged to boost local food

By Adrienne Francis

MILLIONS of pounds could be generated for struggling rural areas if the government helped boost local food production, says a new report.

The report, published by the Soil Association, says the town and countryside would benefit if food production and distribution was better managed.

Launched on 16 October during “Organic Week”, the document highlights a Soil Association campaign called Eat Organic, Buy Local.

Association director Patrick Holden acknowledged that there was growing support for local organic produce, but said there was still a need for change.

“Government support is urgently needed to provide support at national and local levels so that many more sustainable enterprises can be established.”

The report claims that local organic delivery services, such as box schemes, generate around 30 million annually for businesses across the country.

It cites research carried out in Cornwall which shows that for every 10 spent on locally sourced food, 26 is reinvested in the area.

One producers co-operative in the Forth Valley supplies local food to residents of high-rise estates, who lack easy access to fresh food.

Farmers have benefited from the Forth initiative because it is an additional market for their food. In turn, residents receive fresh vegetables.

However, some non-government supported schemes which help farmers with co-operative marketing are also hoping for success.

A new venture at the Farmer Giles visitor attraction near Salisbury, Wiltshire, will combine a farmers market with a farm shop and restaurant.

Owner Tony Deane said: “Its all about boosting farmers confidence in marketing their produce, and getting them to work together.”

Producers will be able to put stock into the food hall to be sold seven days a week under their own “shop front”.

It is hoped that the strategy will overcome problems with continuity of supply, one of the main criticisms of monthly farmers markets.


CLICK HERE to receive FWis FREE new daily email newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest farming news and foot-and-mouth updates

See more