Carmarthen MP and AM pledge to support local producers

Carmarthen and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards and local AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas will be visiting Cwmcerrig farm shop (24.09.10) to pledge their support to buying local and direct. Mr Edwards and Mr Thomas will be the latest signatories to sign up for the Fork2Fork pledge – calling on individuals to pledge their support to local producers by buying direct.

The visit has been organised by the Fork2Fork campaign, a Wales-wide campaign to encourage people to buy direct and local. During the visit elected regional representatives will take a tour of the farm shop guided by Roland Watkins, one of the Watkin Brothers who run the farm shop, as well as meeting local producers who also supply the shop.

Located off the A48 the Cwmcerrig farm shop is a 8,000sq.ft. family venture encompassing 5 brothers whose family have farmed on the site since the 1950’s. Opened in March 2009, the farm shop now employs over 40 local people and at least 80% of the produce is sourced locally in Carmarthenshire.

Numerous products come from the farm shop kitchen while the meat sold in the farm shop comes from the Cwmcerrig farm itself – a true field to fork experience. As well as the retail space visitors can also enjoy a bite to eat at the farm shop café, which does a carvery Wednesday through Sunday.

“We’ve had people visit from all over the world, they think the farm shop is great and we aim to keep up the good work. We are delighted to welcome Mr Edwards here during his first 6 months as our constituency MP” says Roland Watkin, the general manager.

During their visit both Mr Edwards and Mr Thomas will sign the Fork2Fork giant pledge card. Launched in August, the pledge, which calls on individuals as well as national institutions to support local and direct producers, has attracted over 2,000 signatories. Institutions that have joined the campaign include the Women’s Institute, Friends of the Earth and the British Medical Association.

According to Mr Edwards, “Cwmcerrig Farm Shop is a first class example of local people providing top quality local produce direct to the public. I’m glad to support the fork2fork pledge campaign to support local and direct producers. The economic crisis, as well as issues around climate change, makes it more important than ever to invest locally and exploit the excellent products that are on offer here in our county.”

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added: “I’ve visited the shop before and it is a fantastic facility. It is a real example of how rural businesses can diversify in order to maximize their potential. I’ve always supported buying local and supporting our own economy. Given the fact we are fortunate enough to have such excellent local goods buying direct will benefit everyone.”

The pledge is part of the overall Fork2Fork campaign to encourage people to buy directly from producers, via farmers’ markets, farm shops, online, box schemes or farm gates.

Over the coming weeks the Fork2Fork campaign trail will continue across Wales and on the 11th of November, the fork2fork producer conference will take place in Narberth. More details about the conference are available on www.fork2fork.org.uk

According to campaign spokesperson Meilyr Ceredig, “The Fork2Fork pledge is about getting people to stop and think about how and where they shop. There are many benefits to buying direct from the producer themselves – and with farmers’ markets, farm shops, farm gates, box scheme springing up all over the country, the opportunities of buying direct are ever increasing. People need to make the connection between fresh local foods and the local farms and producers that supply them. Farmers markets, farm shops, box schemes play a critical role in keeping farmers on the land, and by providing them with a venue where they sell their much sought after products it’s one of the best ways to save the land that sustains us. If your keen to support your local producer but don’t know where to find them then visit our website www.fork2fork.org.uk”

Note to Editor:

About the Fork2Fork campaign

The Fork2Fork campaign, directed by FBA, is a two-year information and awareness campaign for the consumer, as well as the wider direct sales food sector, about the opportunities and benefits of direct food sales in Wales.

The project is a Supply Chain Efficiency Scheme through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The Fork2fork website www.fork2fork.org.uk is growing weekly. The consumer website currently has over 70 case studies of producers from across Wales, from farm shops, farmers’ market producers, online producers and farm gate sellers. Consumers can search the Fork2Fork interactive map to see what events take place in their area.

Campaign objectives

To raise awareness amongst consumers of opportunities and benefits of buying direct from producers

To encourage greater consumer footfall to farm shops, farmers markets and increase turnover of direct sales via box schemes, internet sales and e-commerce

To raise awareness and increase direct sales trading opportunities for Welsh primary producers utilising regional and pan-Wales marketing opportunities

The Pledge

The pledge will:

Raise the profile of the importance of buying direct from the producer – be it on animal welfare, environmental, or socio-economic grounds. (See ten reasons to buy local below).

“I/We…… pledge wherever possible to buy food directly from the producer from outlets such as farmers’ markets, farm shops, farm gates, online and box schemes. This supports local suppliers and sustainable food production.”

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