Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

Skip to navigation

Local food

Local food Photo: © Terry Rook

CPRE view

CPRE wants local food businesses to flourish and provide readily available produce at an affordable price for consumers and a fair one for farmers. CPRE aims to harness the enthusiasm of our supporters and rural communities for local foods and demonstrate to both businesses and Government that there is a huge opportunity and an urgent need to take steps to develop and promote the local food industry.

CPRE and local food

Our definition of ‘local food’ is that the product should be produced within 30 miles of where it is sold.

Over the past couple of decades there has been increasing concern that we have become alienated from the sources of our food. Today, supermarkets compete for our food custom by price; as a consequence, the amount farmers are paid for their produce is continually squeezed. With supermarkets having 85% market share of food, they have disproportionate buyer power. The threat is always that if farmers don’t take the price offered, food is sourced from abroad, where production costs are lower. However, the carbon cost from food miles rises and nutritional value of food can be lost in the time it takes to get from field to plate. Over the longer term, locally distinct produce is at risk of being lost, and our rural economies damaged.

We are working to highlight the benefits of buying local food. A thriving local food industry:

  • encourages a varied and seasonal diet of fresh food;
  • reconnects communities with farmers;
  • creates jobs and supports local rural economies;
  • revitalises town centres and high streets;
  • reduces traffic congestion, noise and pollution from food miles; and
  • encourages a more sustainable use of land.

New trends in the way we shop and the development of a more food-orientated culture has the potential to reverse some of the damage that our local foods have suffered over recent decades. CPRE is excited about the opportunity to encourage more people to think about where their food comes from and support our rural economies. Innovative ways of buying local food have sprung up across the country such as Food Assemblies, Hubbub and Community Supported Farms. All of these models bring the producer and shopper closer together, ensuring that our farmers are able to sell to their local markets for a fair price.


The issues:

Local asaparagus copyright Terry Rook 223x149px

Our local food choice is being lost

Our local food industries have been in decline for a number of decades due to insufficient leadership from Government, changes in the way consumers shop and the prices they expect.


farmers market shrewsbury copyright Terry Rook 223x149px

CPRE has a long record of shaping the narrative on local foods

Find out how we have worked to ensure that local food is considered to be an important element in achieving a sustainable food and farming system.

Be inspired:

Yeovil local food children copyright Terry Rook 223x149px

Why you should buy and eat local food

There are many good reasons to choose local foods but here is our top 10, based mainly on the views of 1300 shoppers buying local food we spoke to in 12 different towns.

Be inspired:

local honey copyright Terry Rook 223x149px

How and where to find and buy local food

Eating local food means finding the best places to buy it...and we can help. Shopping around can take a little more time but can be really rewarding, save you money and can be more convenient than the weekly big shop.


Local food guide cover WEB

Choosing Local Food - pocket guide

Choosing local produce can offer benefits to your health, your community and your local environment. Whether living in the city or the countryside, local food sources are available - and to help you along the way we've created a handy pocket guide with the best reasons to choose local food as well as tips on helping you to find it.


mapping lcoal food webs toolkit 223x149px

Mapping Local Food Webs Toolkit

Mapping your local 'food web' - the connections between producers, retailers and consumers - will highlight its importance for your local economy, landscape and community. Our toolkit provides all the materials and guidance you will need for a successful project.

Be inspired:


Putting the art into artisan food

Our very own Graeme Willis discusses how us Brits can take a leaf out of the French 'artisan' book and further localise our production of food.

Be inspired:

rooftop veg

Growing produce in the heart of the city

In a bustling city of almost 9 million people, it is hard to imagine that Londoners would be able to find any space at all in which to grow their own food. Yet the desire to buy local is as evident here as it is anywhere else in Britain...

Back to top

Hay field harvest

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. If that's okay, just continue browsing - or see our cookies policy for ways to opt out.
Cookies Policy I agree