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Blair backs local food campaign

[Wednesday 10 January 2007]
just ask local food campaign
CLA's Susan Cunliffe-Lister (right) and
Tea Hee owner, Sophie Smith, with
locally sourced food

A MAJOR new campaign spearheaded by Prime Minister Tony Blair has been officially launched in Yorkshire at an award-winning Easingwold tearoom.

As Daelnet reported on Monday, the Tea Hee Cheesemonger and Espresso Bar is the first local business to sign up to Just Ask - a new initiative from the Country land and Business Association (CLA) aimed at encouraging consumers to ask where the food on their plate comes from whenever they're out for a meal - whether in a hotel, restaurant, pub, canteen or fast food outlet.

Supported by Mr Blair, David Miliband, Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and celebrity chef Lesley Waters, the Just Ask campaign is designed to increase public awareness of the origin of food to enable people to make an informed choice about the food they eat.

Previously voted ITV's regional teashop of the year, the menu at Tea Hee includes homemade soups, quiches, sandwiches, salads and cakes. The deli specialises in Yorkshire cheeses and locally made butter, whilst the chicken is supplied by local producer Debbie Bell.

Situated near Masham in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, Swinton Park Hotel is just one more of many possible examples of outlets where locally sourced produce is available across our region. The hotel restaurant and cookery school run by Rosemary Shrager, features produce sourced from the hotel's four acre walled garden and surrounding estate throughout the year.

Buying British food and sourcing local, seasonal produce insures that we have a viable farming industry...

Lesley Waters Celebrity chef

Susan Cunliffe-Lister, regional chairman of the CLA, said: "Just asking where the food on your plate comes from is the first step in raising awareness of British food. Too often a chef, waiter or proprietor won't know. We intend to change that and, in the process, use consumer pressure to help ensure that we end up with more British food on our plates, increasing the amount of local suppliers and producers in the UK food chain.

"British food ensures British farms and local producers have a future and can continue to provide the countryside we all enjoy."

Speaking at a launch event in London, Lesley Waters commented: "We need to teach the next generation to care where their food comes from. Buying British food and sourcing local, seasonal produce insures that we have a viable farming industry which maintains the countryside we love.

"This won't happen overnight it's going to be a slow-burn but we have to start somewhere."

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