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St George’s Day and local food

[Wednesday 23 April 2008]

HUNDREDS of country folk started today’s St George’s Day celebrations by sitting down to special local-food-only breakfasts across the North of England – but some findings of a national food survey were not so easy to digest.

For several years, the Country Land and Business Association has been promoting their “Buy Local” campaign to persuade customers to put pressure on retailers, pubs and restaurants to buy their food from local farmers and growers – and St George’s Day breakfasts are part if that campaign.

But the association chose today to issue the results of a nationwide survey which “illustrate the enormous gulf between intentions and reality in the procurement of local food, particularly in the public sector,” according to CLA president Henry Aubrey-Fletcher.

The survey reports that two-third of the organisations polled wanted to buy local produce – but the difference between what they thought desirable and what they actually bought revealed a huge rift.

In the public sector, where Government and local authorities spend billions on food for schools, hospitals, military depots and prisons, a mere 2% of goes to local producers.

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