Suffolk council commits to sourcing future catering from local farmers

20 October 2023

Andrew Blenkiron leaning over a sign which reads 'Proudly supporting British food and farming'

Photograph: NFU Suffolk county chairman Andrew Blenkiron

A move from Suffolk County Council to support farmers and growers in the county has been welcomed by the NFU. 

Suffolk County Council has agreed to pass the proposed Conservative’s motion to support the county’s farmers by ensuring all catering at council-organised events is, where possible, sourced from local farmers, committing to always including meat and dairy options alongside plant-based produce.

In addition, Suffolk County Council will commit to further enhancing its partnerships alongside the county’s arable, livestock and dairy farmers and encouraging Suffolk residents to shop locally.

The NFU is now encouraging other organisations to follow suit.

Vote of confidence in farmers

Andrew Blenkiron, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the NFU, 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.

“We would now like to see other organisations following this example and for the public to support local and British farmers by continuing to buy local produce.”

It is good to see the vital role that farmers and growers play in the county recognised in this way.”

NFU Suffolk county chairman Andrew Blenkiron

The motion was widely supported, with 59 councillors voting in favour of it, no councillors voting in opposition and three councillors abstaining.

The vital role Suffolk’s farmers play in the boosting the county’s economy and supporting the countryside was also discussed as well as the environmental benefits of reducing food miles.

Independent councillor Richard Kemp supported the motion but called for it to go further. During the meeting, he said: “We could do more. I’d like to see us help to ensure local suppliers are used in schools, prisons and hospitals.

Mr Kemp suggested that the council could set up an ad hoc committee or pressure group to look into this again in the future.

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.”

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