Buying British is good for us all

21 September 2009
Buying British is good for us all

Tom Peake, founder and director of Renaissance Pubs, believes we should all become involved in British Food Fortnight, as its inspirational message is good for business and good for our nation.

"British Food Fortnight celebrates the great quality and variety of food we produce in this country. What caught my attention is the quieter point it makes by coinciding with the harvest festival. I find this inspirational: it reminds us of our need to reconnect to the land and look at the way we live, striking at the heart of the issue of sustainability. Buying British is the intelligent way forward if we want to achieve real progress in the health of our people, our island and our planet.

The provenance of our food not only promotes discussion, it also illustrates the transformation of the food culture of this country. The growing number of people who are interested in provenance and are willing to pay more for better quality food is enabling chefs to source good British produce rather than rely on cheaper foreign imports. This has meant the number of small farmers and niche suppliers has continued to grow, fuelling the expansion in regional variety.

A good example of the resurgence in niche British food production is Duckett's Caerphilly. Chris Duckett was a third generation Caerphilly maker, farming his own herd in Somerset. He died recently, but the dairy is continuing to produce the traditionally made cheese under the guidance of biochemist Jemima Cordle.

Cordle was so inspired by the slow food movement that she hung up her lab coat to take on Duckett's, re-introducing superb unpasteurised Caerphilly and breathing new life into a cheese that would probably have been lost without her intervention.

This story symbolises for me the renaissance of the food culture in Britain, the impact of which has been stunning. The proliferation of great places to eat and drink has played a central role in driving the change in people's attitude towards food. We need to ensure that this transformation continues and that the demand for superior produce continues to grow. It's good for business and good for our nation, and is why British Food Fortnight demands our attention and involvement."

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