Nottinghamshire buys £2m of local food a year for schools
Of the £6 million Nottinghamshire County Council spends each year on food for schools, around a third goes to local suppliers or those based less than 50 miles away.
This translates into around three quarters of the food on the plate of an average school dinner in the county.
Andy Stewart, the county council’s committee chair for personnel and performance said: “Every pound we spend locally translates into £3 which directly benefits the local economy and we’re keen to support local businesses and local jobs.”
His comment follows the publication of a report out this week from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), which claims that the growing appetite for locally produced food is being killed off by the rise of supermarkets.
The report says they stock hardly any local food.
Stewart said the amount Nottinghamshire buys from local suppliers has soared in the last year as the take-up of school meals continues to rise – up nearly 9% in 2011/12 on the previous year.
Compared with this time last year, for example, the county council was buying around 185,000 more sausages from its local meat supplier in Tuxford and ordering nearly 3,000 more chickens from its poultry farmer.
The CPRE report states that money spent in small independent shops supports three times the number of jobs than that spent in supermarket chains.
Stewart added: “For several years now, we’ve also been actively trying to reduce our carbon footprint, and eating produce that’s been locally reared or grown locally is one of the best ways to achieve this.
“By sourcing local produce, we can generate more income for the local economy, and even better, bring schools some great tasting school dinners.”
In the council’s biggest ever survey of what parents and children think about its school meals service, which was undertaken recently, nearly 80% of parents ranked them as good or very good. Around 8,000 people took part in it.
More details about Nottinghamshire County Council’s school meals can be found at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/schooldinners.