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30 August 2006

Barrett backs local food campaign

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today backed a growing campaign to encourage supermarkets to stock more locally produced produce.
Mr Barrett has signed the Farmers Weekly’s Local Food is Miles Better campaign petition calling on supermarkets and food retailers to “promote, stock and label locally produced food in a way that supports local producers and cuts down the distance food is transported.”

Mr Barrett has also pledged his support for a Parliamentary Motion in support of the campaign which recognises that stocking locally produced produce can “help the environment, boost the economy, and support British farming.”

John Barrett said:

“Research shows that 82% of consumers would be more likely to buy locally produced food in the supermarket if it was clearly labelled as such. I believe that all supermarkets should be giving consumers this kind of information so that people can make informed choices.

“In Edinburgh we are lucky to have the hugely successful Edinburgh Farmers Market on our doorstep every weekend. However, it must also be incumbent on Supermarkets to give local people the opportunity to support local food producers.

“I have never understood the logic of flying food halfway round the world when quality local produce is available. Agriculture and food now account for nearly 30 per cent of goods transported on our roads. The carbon emissions this causes have a very significant impact on our environment.

“The average distance food travelled from fields to our plates rose by 15 per cent between 1992 and 2002. With the current focus on the need to cut carbon emissions, this trend must be reversed.”

Notes

• According to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the average distance food travelled from fields to our plate rose by 15 per cent between 1992 and 2002. With the current focus on the importance of cutting carbon emissions, this trend must be reversed.”

• John Barrett has added his name to the Farmers weekly petition which can be found at http://www.fwi.co.uk/gr/foodmiles/index.html. The petition states:

“Supermarkets have a huge influence on the food we eat. Farmers Weekly’s exclusive food miles campaign research shows that 82% of consumers would be more likely to buy locally produced food in the supermarket if it was clearly labelled as such. Over a third of consumers would prefer to buy locally produced food from their supermarket. I support Farmers Weekly’s campaign which calls for all supermarkets and food retailers to promote, stock and label locally produced food in a way that supports local producers and cuts down the distance food is transported.”

• Mr Barrett has pledged to add his name to Early Day Motion 2256 entitled ‘Local Food is Miles Better Campaign’ when parliament returns from summer recess. The motion reads:

“That this House supports Farmer’s Weekly’s Local Food is Miles Better campaign; believes that buying locally grown food is an excellent way for consumers to reconnect with farmers and develop a better understanding of where their food comes from; recognises that producing and buying food locally can help the environment, boost the economy, and support British farming; and calls for supermarkets to promote, stock and label locally produced food to cut food miles and support local producers.”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.