Rosie Boycott (London’s food Czar) and I had a meeting with farmers from the Home Counties to look at ways that London can eat more locally produced food. Boris joined us for part of the meeting but had to rush off to another appointment, although the farmers did present him with a rather nice basket of goodies.
We discussed opening up more street markets, making it easier for farmers to supply pubic sector organisations and encouraging London kids to visit farms to see where food comes from. One of our biggest challenges is to shorten and simplify the supply chains which will help farmers, reduce costs to the consumer, support independent retailers and help save our street markets. But it won’t be an easy task.
If you think that living in a city next to the Garden of England would mean that we get the bulk of Kent’s produce, think again. I have now heard about peas from Kent going via freezing facilities on the continent and then back to supermarkets in London. Or how about the nearest big abattoir being in the West Country, meaning Sussex lamb goes on a nice 350 mile round trip just to get to south London. Or Kent raspberries being sold in Dundee while Scottish Raspberries are on sale in Greenwich. Bonkers.