News page 2Draft National Strategy for

News page 2Draft National Strategy for

News page 2

Draft National Strategy for Local Government Procurement 2004 – 2006
The draft strategy has been developed in response to the recommendations made by Sir Ian Byatt in his report of 2001 Delivering Better Services to Citizens. The draft includes the recommendation that every council should build sustainability into its procurement strategy, processes and contracts. Responses to the draft national strategy are requested by 19 September to procurement@odpm.gsi.gov.uk or info@lga.gov.uk
tel; 020 7944 3300.

See National Strategy for Local Government Procurement

Hewitt pushes role of jobs in contracts
Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, is lobbying for a change in the way the government spends billions of pounds on procurement to take more account of the impact on UK jobs, according to Whitehall officials. The secretary wants all central government spending to consider the effects on employment and the UK economy as well as the dominant criterion of ‘value for money’. One Whitehall insider said ‘We shouldn’t always get the cheapest possible deal without considering the knock-on effects on the economy’. Critics of the government’s current best value policy on procurement argue that it is too narrow. They point out that a decision to buy abroad can deprive taxpayers of jobs, reducing tax revenues and cancelling the gains made from cheaper procurement.

Source: Financial Times, 10.09.03

Local organic milk sold at North Devon school
Devon Food Links has been working hard to encourage schools in the county to use more local, sustainable produce. One of the most successful of these initiatives has resulted in a deal for a North Devon organic dairy farm to supply an Ilfracomeb Primary School with up to 40 litres of organic milk a day. Click here to read in full.

Source: Devon Food Links Newsletter


''Let''s be more like the French'', 9th September
The architect of the government''s farming reforms has revealed he wants to encourage people to "be more like the French".

In an interview with the Times on Tuesday, Sir Don Curry says he wants the public sector institutions - such as the army and NHS - and the public to buy locally-sourced British food. Click here to read in full.

Source; Times

Conference calls for local food for local schools, 8th SeptemberDelegates and speakers at a conference in Monmouth, organised by Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sustain, called for more local, sustainable food to be provided in local schools. Jeanette Orrey, Catering Manager at a primary school in Nottingham, said ‘You need enthusiasm and it will be a struggle, but it’s a path worth travelling and is rewarding. It means better food, fresh food, safe food and food we can afford’. Kay Knight, Head of Catering at South Gloucestershire County Council, said her work to transform the school meals service had involved a change of culture. Embracing the principles of local purchasing had been a recipe for success for the service.

Source; Wye Valley AONB press release

Draft National Strategy for Local Government Procurement 2004 – 2006
The draft strategy has been developed in response to the recommendations made by Sir Ian Byatt in his report of 2001 Delivering Better Services to Citizens. The draft includes the recommendation that every council should build sustainability into its procurement strategy, processes and contracts. Responses to the draft national strategy are requested by 19 September to procurement@odpm.gsi.gov.uk or info@lga.gov.uk
tel; 020 7944 3300.

See National Strategy for Local Government Procurement

Hewitt pushes role of jobs in contracts
Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, is lobbying for a change in the way the government spends billions of pounds on procurement to take more account of the impact on UK jobs, according to Whitehall officials. The secretary wants all central government spending to consider the effects on employment and the UK economy as well as the dominant criterion of ‘value for money’. One Whitehall insider said ‘We shouldn’t always get the cheapest possible deal without considering the knock-on effects on the economy’. Critics of the government’s current best value policy on procurement argue that it is too narrow. They point out that a decision to buy abroad can deprive taxpayers of jobs, reducing tax revenues and cancelling the gains made from cheaper procurement.

Source: Financial Times, 10.09.03

Local organic milk sold at North Devon school
Devon Food Links has been working hard to encourage schools in the county to use more local, sustainable produce. One of the most successful of these initiatives has resulted in a deal for a North Devon organic dairy farm to supply an Ilfracomeb Primary School with up to 40 litres of organic milk a day. The milk will be sold at milk bars provided at affordable rates by First Milk, a farmer-owned processing business.

Source: Devon Food Links Newsletter; www.devonfoodlinks.org.uk/Bulletin_Aug03.htm

Good Food on the Public Plate, Sustain''s latest publication comes in five sections: Summary and contents (21pp), Report (89pp), Guidance (53pp), Toolkit (61pp), and a Directory (73pp) come in a robust slipcase for easy use, display and storage. The pack, consisting of all five sections and slip case, costs £110, plus p&p. There is a 50% discount for schools, producer groups, and voluntary organisations and projects.
To order go to www.sustainweb.org or phone 020 7837 1228.


''Let''s be more like the French'', 9th September
The architect of the government''s farming reforms has revealed he wants to encourage people to "be more like the French".

In an interview with the Times on Tuesday, Sir Don Curry says he wants the public sector institutions - such as the army and NHS - and the public to buy locally-sourced British food. Click here to read in full.

Source; Times

BACK BRITISH FOOD WHERE GOVERNMENT FEARS TO TREAD, 8th August 2003
The government can support British food in Calais but not in Coventry. That''s the ridiculous truth of EU competition laws which allow DEFRA food promotions abroad but not at home.
DEFRA and Food from Britain claim that their food promotions must adhere strictly to EU rules. So, British Food Fortnight, which takes place between Sept 20 and Oct 5 and is designed to boost consumption of home-produced food, will go ahead without direct financial backing from either organisation.
True, EU laws prevent governments promoting products solely by virtue of their national origin (it was that daft rule that effectively emasculated the Little Red Tractor campaign). But government money can be spent on advertising to stress the special characteristics of certain products.
Why can''t that be applied to British Food Fortnight?
Imagine the outcry in France if its government adopted a similar policy under the guise of complying with the letter of the EU law. Neither was the French government slow to do everything in its power to promote French meat during the BSE and foot-and-mouth crises.
Are British politicians any less imaginative than their French counterparts? Or is it that Whitehall regards British food and farmers as a public embarrassment rather than, as in France, a national treasure?
FARMERS WEEKLY has pledged its support for British Food Fortnight. We believe it''s an excellent showcase for the wealth of top-class, environmentally- and welfare-friendly food and drink produced in Britain.
Over the coming weeks we will explain how you can help to put the best of British food on plates throughout the country. British Food Fortnight may not enjoy Government support, but it could benefit from the backing of 230,000 straight-talking FW readers.
Source; Repoduced with the kind permission of farmers weekly.

SECURITY, WELFARE AND FOOD MILES - REASONS TO BACK BRITISH FOOD,
29th August
Calories count. Particularly when it comes to the insane energy economics of ferrying food around the world.
One statistic captures the madness: Every calorie of carrot flown into the UK from South Africa needs 66 calories of jet fuel. It''s the economics of the madhouse. Yet still we fly in, ship, train and haul food from around the world, even when home produce is in season.
It''s not just the tonnes of carbon dioxide kicked out by aero engines powered by tax-free fuel. Or other forms of pollution stemming from our massive and increasing reliance on imported foods. Topping the list is food security in our unstable world.
When the British farmer becomes a park-keeper, what confidence can we have that our trading partners will continue to supply reliably the quantity or quality of food we need?
Moreover, how can we be certain that imported food matches the stringent workers'' rights, pesticide safety, food hygiene and animal welfare standards rightly expected in this country?
Do consumers care? It''s tempting to conclude that most Britons are happy to export responsibility for standards of food production with the same speed our government apparently welcomes imports. That''s why British Food Fortnight (Sept 20-Oct 5) offers such a marvellous opportunity to promote top, tasty, nutritious British food. Food that travels the minimum distance from producer to plate and does not rely on burning tonnes of fuel to ferry it to our tables. Even the government promised recently to encourage public bodies to buy British food.
So let''s join together to make British Food Fortnight the success it deserves to be. Let''s explain to our customers about the food mile calories on their plates and say what the government can''t: British food is best.
Both editorials reproduced with the kind permission of Farmers Weekly magazine
Source; Repoduced with the kind permission of farmers weekly.


Country pubs on brink as hard-hit landlords call time, 5th September
IT may be fast gathering a reputation as the place for gastro-pubs, but
Monmouthshire''s inns are coming under threat after a spate of closures.
The border county, famed for its rolling hills and ancient hostelries alike,
has fallen prey like many others around Wales to the recent rural downturn.
Click here to read in full.

Source; Western Mail

Petition for greater range of local produce; 5th September
The country Land and Business Association (CLA), is asking visitors to next
week''s Westmorland County Show on Thursday September 11 to visit its stand
and sign a petition asking for a greater range of local produce to be made
available by supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. Click here to read in full.

Source; Newcastle Journal

Europe''s harvest crisis, 6th September
The prolonged heatwave has devastated crops across Europe, leaving some countries facing their worst harvests since the end of the second world war.
Click here to read in full.

Source; Guardian

School lunchboxes contain too much fat, salt and sugar
A UK survey has revealed that nine out of ten children''s school lunchboxes contain foods that are too high in saturated fat, salt and sugar. The survey, carried out by the Food Standards Agency, suggested that at lunchtime, children are eating as much as twice the recommended amount of sugar, close to half of their daily recommended salt intake, and are also having high levels of saturated fats. The survey looked at 556 home-packed lunches for children from 24 primary schools across the UK and revealed that up to 40% of the saturated fat content in the lunchboxes came from butter and other fat spreads, up to 25% from cheddar cheese, up to 19% from crisps and up to 14% from chocolate bars and biscuits. Salt tended to come from foods such as white bread, ham and crisps and the higher levels of sugar came mainly from fizzy drinks, ready-to-drink juice drinks and chocolate-covered bars and biscuits.

Staffordshire Local Food Directory
New directory with the aim of promoting local food to local people, tourists, catering businesses. Lists producers offering a wide variety of local produce from around Staffordshire or within 10 miles of its boundary, the directory is arranged by geographical area. Contact: Sam Pickles 01785 619686 or spickles@staffordbc.gov.uk

Exeter farmers’ market relocates and relaunches
Thursday 18th September sees the re-launch of the Exeter Farmers Market. The market will take place more frequently and, for September and October, at the Eastgate House, Exeter. It is intended that the farmers’ market move towards a weekly operation. More info from George Dumble on geohdumble@exeter.gov.uk

National Conference on the Government''s Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative, London, 26 November 2003
A one-day DEFRA conference to promote public procurement of food that supports the delivery of the Government’s Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy. Speakers include Lord Whitty, Sir Don Curry, and Jonathon Porritt. For further details see govnet.co.uk/deframediapack/index.html or contact Sarah Sincock-Wholey on 020 7484 5244 or at sarah.sw@govnet.co.uk

Food Links UK National Conference- Local Food Links
Ideas into Action, Yorkshire, 27 November 2003
A one-day conference near Wakefield in Yorkshire organised by Food Links UK, Local Food Works, F3, and Sustain. Aims to highlight the new policy agenda for food and farming, show how local projects can best support health, regeneration and environmental objectives, and illustrate how sustainable food and farming policy is being delivered on the ground. Speakers include- Caroline Lucas MEP, Jeremy Pope, Baroness Sue Miller, Chair: Prof. Tim Lang. For initial enquiries email conference@localfood.org.uk

An opportunity to see how a vegetable gets from the field to the table...or to find out how one farmer has specialised his business in the UK and expanded overseas to provide year round products to supermarkets....
Sparsholt College is running a project called “Forward Farming” to test the effectiveness of different types of demonstration farms and associated activities in England. In the build-up to the fortnight they will be holding on-farm discussions to explore the benefits of closer links between producers and their markets, local communities, local landscape and environment. A full list of events is attached. Or please contact:


Whitty announces food procurement initiative, 26th August
Lord Whitty, Minister for Farming, Food, and Sustainable Energy, today announced the government’s food procurement initiative which will review the way in which public bodies purchase their food and catering services. It will review whether small and medium sized producers are given fair chance to compete for contracts, and will also exam issues of animal welfare, healthy eating, environmental impact, pesticides, and nutrition in public sector catering. See; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3179907.stm
Buy Local Supermarket planned for Cornwall, 26th August
A unique multi-million-pound deal between supermarket chain Waitrose and a consortium of eight farmers aims to bring Cornish food direct to local people. The scheme would see the building of a £25 million supermarket. If it is given planning consent, the ‘Cornish Food Hall’ could prove the forerunner of similar projects.

Public sector urged to eat British; 27th August
The Government yesterday launched a campaign to persuade hospitals, prisons and schools to buy more British produce, while admitting that European competition law forbids ministers from actually telling people to buy British. Click here for more

Producers claim illegal pig products flooding Britain, 22nd August
PIG farmers are becoming increasingly disgruntled that misleading labelling allows increasing quantities of pork, produced under conditions outlawed in this country, to be sold in Britain. A month ago an official at the British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets, dismissed their complaints as "poppycock" and accused them of being unable to substantiate their claims. But they have now visited a range of stores and purchased offending products and their representatives aim to place the evidence on the table when they meet the Food Standards Agency on September 8. Executive director of the National Pig Association (NPA) Stewart Houston who farms near Ripon, said yesterday: "The NPA is investigating the use of English-sounding brand names to sell pork products from overseas. We are going to take samples of labels to the Food Standards Agency to get their opinion before we return to discussions with the retailers and attack this particular problem at its source.

"What we would like to see are retailers who have decided they want to supply the cheaper imported product - which would be illegal to produce in Britain - to hold up their hands and admit to it and then we would know who we want to work with." The farmers say a significant number of consumers are committed to buying British pork because of its higher welfare standards.

Mr Houston added: "We would urge consumers concerned about the way their pork, bacon and ham has been reared to look for the British Quality Standard Mark and the Little Red Tractor logo." The British Pig Executive said that if rising pig meat imports continue, imports in 2003 are likely to reach 751,000 tonnes, 45 per cent higher than five years ago. Feedback - email robert.benson@ypn.co.uk

Source; Yorkshire Post