Such a move would help councils work towards a more sustainable future, boost the local economy and build on commitments from political parties to source a higher level of climate-friendly British food.
It follows the positive initiative from Suffolk County Council to support the county’s farmers by ensuring all catering at council-organised events is, wherever possible, sourced from local farmers, as well as always including meat and dairy options alongside plant-based produce.
Other councils such as Devon and North Northamptonshire have also made similar commitments to encourage people to shop locally, taking advantage of home-grown, nutritious food, both plant- and meat-based.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “It’s good that local authorities are looking at how they can become more sustainable and how food fits within that.
“We have always maintained that the best and most effective way to do this is to carefully consider sourcing – where the produce has come from and the sustainability of its production – whether that’s fruit and veg or meat and dairy.
“It’s a win-win. Sourcing British food, and locally wherever possible, means councils can cut food miles, reduce reliance on imports and have a much greater understanding of the environmental standards to which the food has been produced.
Support for farmers
“It would also provide much needed support for British farmers and growers at a time when business certainty and confidence is at an all-time low, and at the same time put value back into the local economy.
“Sourcing British food, and locally wherever possible, means councils can cut food miles, reduce reliance on imports and have a much greater understanding of the environmental standards to which the food has been produced.”
NFU President Minette Batters
“When it comes to food I believe people should always have a choice. That’s why it’s important that councils carefully consider their sourcing commitments so they can lower their carbon footprint at the same time as keeping tasty, sustainably produced, nutritious food, including meat and dairy, on the menu.”
Recognition of vital role
Andrew Blenkiron, NFU Suffolk county chair, said: “We are delighted to have the support of Suffolk County Council.
“It is good to see the vital role that farmers and growers play in the county recognised in this way."
The motion was initially proposed by deputy leader of Suffolk County Council Richard Rout, who hailed the move as “a vote of confidence in our farming community”.
Councillor Rout added: “It is about showing our dairy, livestock and arable farmers across the county that Suffolk County Council has your back.
“We can do more and we will do more for our farming community.”