Preston, here in Lancashire, offers a model for a way forward that encourages local food production and living wages for food service workers. Many people believe that EU rules for Local Authorities are required to follow when competitive tendering have hindered 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.
"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.
Where other authorities privatise, Preston grows its own businesses. It even creates worker-owned co-operatives.
Following 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.
"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".
More Case Studies coming here soon.
Here is the presentation I made at Harris Museum Preston April 2018 , outlining the relationship between 'town and country'. The case the best place to develop this model is in the middle of Lancashire, as this county represents British farming overall very well.
Key characters in all this will be a co-operative to help smaller producers organise and Landworkers' Alliance who plan to boost horticultural production "Currently only 1% of the £3 billion agriculture budget is spent on horticulture. Over the last 30 years the area planted to vegetables in the UK has decreased by 26%..If Defra is serious about bringing health into the Post-Brexit agricultural policy, it is essential that they adopt a proactive approach to horticultural regeneration"
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