Preston LancashirePreston, here in Lancashire, offers a model for a way forward that 'takes back control'. I spoke here at the Harris Museum Preston April 2018 , outlining the relationship between 'town and country'. The best place to develop this model in terms of food and farming is in the middle of Lancashire, as this county represents British farming overall - half arable, half pasture. The Council aims to develop local ownership, and local supply chains and works with key public, commercial and social anchor institutions to facilitate this.
The city now has 7 'anchor' organisations, each of whom try to practically promote rewarding local people. The University and Constabulary want to be a key part of the community, along with the City and the County Council. It means there is a mixture of Councils, companies, co-operatives and mutuals working together alongside the public institutions that is creating a new way to do business.
Local Authority Procurement of Food
Many people believe that EU rules for Local Authorities require them to follow competitive tendering procedure which hinder local sourcing. Local Authorities under EU rules should set tendering processes that allow anybody in Europe to compete for the contract. It has meant that big food service operations often win out as they know the rules and processes best. Some claim that coming out of EU releases us from these rules. But many EU cities manage to manage their affairs and encourage local produce. In the early 2000s Lord Whitty, then DEFRA Minister, organised a conference at ways to encourage public institutions to buy local food, and the emphasis was to use 'social value' in the tendering criteria.
Preston shows we do not need to Brexit to achieve what Local Authorities elsewhere in the EU achieve."In 2015, Lancashire County Council put a contract to provide school meals out to tender. That was impossibly large for local firms, so officers broke it into bite-size chunks. There was a tender to provide yoghurt, others for sandwich fillings, eggs, cheese, milk, and so on. One contract was split into nine different lots. It meant officials actually shaping a market to fit their society – and it worked. Local suppliers using Lancashire farmers won every contract and provided an estimated £2m boost to the county". Public Procurement Presentation I made in 2017 to Preston Food linking producers and procurers.
"A few minutes from the market is a lovely Georgian square where, among the solicitors’ and accountants’ firms, stands a statue of Robert Peel. Residents built it in gratitude for the Conservative’s repeal of the corn laws in 1846, the point at which Britain converted to free trade. It remains the establishment creed, but Preston’s guerrilla protectionism suggests how it might break down".
Social Value Act came into force in 2013. “Social value” is usually understood to refer to the “non financial impacts of programmes, organisations and interventions”. These usually refer to social and environmental impacts as well as to individual well-being. (More)
Most Improved Cirty
Preston is named as most improved City. It came out top of the Good Growth for Cities index, ahead of other major improvers like Hull and Middlesborough
“We needed to do something that was more resilient but also, crucially, put more democracy and ownership in the Preston economy,” Clr Brown in New Statesman
New MarketFollowing the crash of 2008 and its plans for a massive shopping complex, public money in Preston encouraged local produce. The new market opened in February 2018 proud of its local supplies.
Preston is becoming a fine example of 'New Municipalism'.
Matthew Brown & Hillary Wainright 'Modern Politics of Municipal Socialism'
Check out what this means for Barcelona Their major Ada Colau says politics takes place in an open public space, not a town hall.
Lancashire Business 'Bring Back a Billion'. Buy it in Lancashire
Improving Social Efficiency of local markets is not protectionism
This against a backdrop of many similar initiatives in the UK, each with a slightly different flavour. There are several terms for this 'movement'. One is Community supported agriculture - the antithesis of global food chains. it is not just this country, but many others seeing a mini-boom in model of farming where growers sell direct to consumers. Growing food growing momentum (FEC blog) Develop rural entrepreneurs
Armed Forces Day July 2018Fritters Sisters (left) couldn't make enough fritters. Spam fritters, potato cakes, vinegar cake. The Larder team summoned up some wartime recipes and shared stories of rationing at #ArmedForcesDay 2018, explaining how food rations were better for us!Some of the old wartime commandments looked just right to the younger generations on the Flagmarket .....