The Western Morning News has immersed itself into local life by leading a new move to persuade people to build a healthy regional economy.
In a region devastated by foot and mouth disease, the paper has seized the moment to launch a high-level meeting with local producers and businesspeople.
The so-called ‘Big Breakfast’ meeting was organised by the paper, and chaired by Barrie Williams, the newspaper’s editor.
He described the event as “a quality meeting with influential people from different interests reaching common ground on the way forward.”
He said: “We will now put flesh on the bones and launch a major, concerted campaign within a matter of weeks.
“The mood is right.
“People want to support local farmers and producers and if we can capitalise on that mood we can have an impact.”
The region already has a lot of existing activity to promote local food but the foot and mouth crisis has proved a catalyst for the newspaper to co-ordinate the activity to benefit the entire region and embrace the complete supply process “from farm gate to plate”.
Delegates to the conference included agriculturalists, supermarket representatives, farmers’ leaders, butchers, government officers and pressure groups, as well as economic and environmental agencies.
The campaign is expected to work at a number of levels, starting with farmers’ markets and specialist food retailers, and could result in more local produce being made available even in the larger supermarket chains.
The delegates will look into possible motifs for identifying local produce, methods of getting retailers and suppliers to work together and other ways to capitalise on the consumer loyalty fostered by the crisis.
Those attending the meeting enjoyed a “Westcountry breakfast” consisting of a variety of local products.
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