Kent Green Party believes encouraging people to eat more local food in Kent and Medway could increase local jobs. Dr Hazel Dawe, Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, explains:
"Good quality food, in season, is essential for every household, but it is also an expanding part of the Kent economy at a time when world food prices have been rising. There are 42 farmers' markets in Kent and Medway, including over 400 local enterprises (1). Like other independent food businesses selling to the public in our County, our farmers' market using businesses are local producers are supporting local jobs, and are helping to reduce the air pollution created by transporting food long distances. Roughly 15-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions are food-related (2).
"The idea of a 'Kent Breakfast' being promoted by Visit Kent is clearly a great way to increase the use of locally-produced food in Kent (3), as are the efforts of Produced in Kent (4). But we need each local council to help support farmers' markets and small, independent food businesses. This would make our high streets more diverse and attractive. In fact, we would like to see farmers' markets as part of High Streets (5). More food businesses and more farmers' markets in high streets would mean more customers for all shops. People could cycle and walk to their local market reducing noise and air pollution in town centres, and revitalising high streets (8)."
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1. Kent Farmers'Markets Association website: http://www.kfma.org.uk/
2. GRAIN The Great Food Robbery, 2012. These emissions are divided between food transportation, food processing and packaging, food refrigeration and emissions from retail outlets. Avoidable plastic bags are part of the waste, and should be replaced by permanent bags only.
5. West Malling Farmers' Market is a good example of this.
6. Clearly, the focus here is on food, but farmers' markets often sell plants, handicrafts, art, jewellery and wood.