At Full Council this afternoon (19th October) Suffolk County Council has agreed to pass the proposed Conservative’s motion to support our local farmers by ensuring all catering at council-organised events is, where possible, sourced from local farmers, committing to always including meat and dairy options alongside plant-based produce. In addition, Suffolk County Council will commit to further enhancing our partnerships alongside our arable, livestock and dairy farmers encouraging Suffolk residents to shop locally.
53 Councillors backed the motion, with three Green Councillors abstaining from the vote.
This motion was proposed by Councillor Richard Rout, Deputy Leader of Suffolk County Council and seconded by Councillor Andrew Reid, Cabinet member for Public Health and Public Protection. The motion aimed to raise awareness of the importance of our hardworking farming communities within Suffolk. Suffolk Conservatives fully support our farming communities as well as the wider food and drink industry and recognise their value both economically and environmentally.
We are firm believers in preserving our countryside and our traditional rural practices. Supporting and enhancing the county’s relations with the local businesses and farmers is integral to the growth of our local economy as well as reducing food miles to our tables.
Councillor Richard Rout said:
“I’m delighted that this motion passed today but it is disappointing that three Green Councillors felt unable to support it. Coming from a farming family, I know firsthand just how hard our farmers and growers work to feed and sustain our nation. Agriculture and agribusiness are an integral part of our local economy. This motion not only commits us to doubling down on our support for local farmers but also ensures dietary choice at all our events, keeping meat and dairy firmly on the table alongside plant-based options.”
Recently, many Green, Labour and Lib Dem Councillors on authorities such as Edinburgh City Council, Norwich City Council, and Oxfordshire County Council have angered their farming communities by signing the ‘Plant-Based Treaty’ or banning meat and dairy from their buildings and events. The ‘Plant-Based Treaty’ shuns the construction of any future livestock farm and promotes plant-based foods in schools and hospitals as well as pledging to prioritise vegan food over animal products.
Councillor Andrew Reid said:
“We in Suffolk are rightly proud of our fantastic farming community. Through our County Farm estate, which spans over 12,000 acres and contributes over £7 million to the local economy, we have 90 agricultural tenants who do so much for our county. I was delighted to second this motion today and reaffirm our commitment to this vital sector.”
This motion has been welcomed by rural campaigners at the Countryside Alliance and the National Farmers Union.
Andrew Blenkiron, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the National Farmers’ Union, said:
“We are delighted to have the support of Suffolk County Council.
“It is good to see the vital role that farmers and growers play in the county recognised in this way.
“We would now like to see other organisations following this example and for the public to support local and British farmers by buying British produce.”