NFU Scotland has welcomed the announcement today by Ross Finnie, Minister
for Environment and Rural Development, that he fully supports initiatives for
schools to source food from local suppliers.
The results of a pilot project in East Ayrshire, in which schools
increased the amount of food brought from local suppliers, have
been published by the Scottish Executive.
Both parents and children are in favour of locally produced
food being served in primary schools and demand for such produce
continues to increase.
77 per cent of parents interviewed said that they felt that
spending money on local, fresh food for school meals was a good
use of public money and 67 per cent of children said that the
meals tasted better than before the local sourcing initiative
Jimmy Young, NFU Scotland Ayrshire Regional Board Chairman,
“Crucially, this pilot projects seems to have benefited
not only children but also food producers. Farmers are extremely
keen to find new markets for their quality produce and the project
has shown that they are more than capable of supplying the school
“The development of local markets for local food is also
in the wider public interest. It prevents extra ‘food miles’ – transporting
food from distant places generates the greenhouse gases that
contribute to global warming. It generates local jobs in processing
and preparing food and also brings other people closer to farming.
“We have been saying for decades that fresh, local food
is far tastier and healthier and now, out of the mouths of babes,
comes the same message. Not only does local food have health
benefits, but it also helps us to secure a sustainable agriculture
industry, which in turn leads to sustainable rural communities.
“We very much welcome the support that this initiative
has received from Ross Finnie and I sincerely hope that more
councils follow the East Ayrshire example. The farming industry
looks forward to working in collaboration with all concerned
to make the most of these opportunities to our mutual benefit.”
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