Food & farming
The Countryside Alliance and The Countryside Alliance Foundation champion and support British farmers and producers, and believe that food and farming are central to the character and well-being of Britain.
We support and recognise the valuable part farmers play not only in producing food to some of the highest standards in the world, but also their vital role in shaping and maintaining the landscape and communities for which Britain is renowned. Our Food and Farming campaign highlights the importance and value of clear food labelling and assured food procurement to enable consumers to make informed choices and have confidence in the products they are buying. It reaches out to butchers, chefs, journalists in print, radio and TV, and of course members of the public. We also deliver workshop programmes in catering colleges and provide in-store promotional support to supermarkets.
We provide a wealth of useful information on the benefits of eating British wild game, where to buy it and how to cook it, including nutritional facts, step by step guides to preparation, recipes and newsletters. The Countryside Alliance Awards, celebrating rural food and highlighting good quality locally sourced produce, have become an established and reputable part of the rural calendar giving yet more support to the issues that matter to people in rural and urban areas.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
The Countryside Alliance awards, aka the Rural Oscars, turn ten this year, so to celebrate we are inviting former Champions to compete again, this time for the honour of being Champion of Champions. The below letter was sent out to all UK & Ireland Champions in mid July, setting out our plans for the scheme. We wanted to celebrate our birthday with those who have helped make the Awards what they are and so an X Factor style public vote will open here in November. Pictured are the butchers of SW Doughty in Kent, popular Champions in 2010.Read more
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Commenting on the announcement of Liz Truss as Secretary of State for the Environment, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, Barney White-Spunner, said: “Owen Paterson has worked extremely hard as Secretary of State and has always had the interests of the countryside and rural communities clearly at heart, but the Alliance remains concerned that no matter who is environment secretary, fundamental issues within the department make this an almost impossible role.
Thursday, 26 June 2014
Today the BBC Trust reported back on its review of the BBC’s rural coverage, concluding that there are “deficiencies” that need to be improved - read here
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
There is now widespread recognition of a growing horse crisis in Britain. In particular the problem caused to owners of land by the fly grazing of horses. Not only is this potentially hugely expensive for those whose land is used for illegal grazing but it is also extremely damaging in terms of horse welfare. There is now agreement across a wide range of organisations including World Horse Welfare, the British Horse Society, NFU, CLA, RSPCA and the Countryside Alliance that action needs to be taken and various changes made to the law which would make it easier to tackle this problem in a way which protects horse welfare and reduces the cost to land owners and local authorities. So far DEFRA have argued that the existing law is adequate. We do not agree and the recent Control of Horses (Wales) Act 2014 is already showing what could be achieved in England. Read on to find out how you can help.Read more
Thursday, 26 June 2014
Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner writes: Many of you will be well aware of the burgeoning fly grazing problem in the countryside. World Horse Welfare estimates that around 7,000 horses have been abandoned, a clear animal welfare concern as well as a headache for the farmers and landowners left with the abandoned animals. The Countryside Alliance's political team is working alongside a wide range of organisations including World Horse Welfare, the British Horse Society, NFU, CLA and RSPCA on this. This is a welcome example of the RSPCA working on front line animal welfare, as it should. Together we are pressing for changes to the law to make it easier (and less costly) for landowners and local authorities to remove fly-grazed horses from their land. We also want to help prevent irresponsible horse owners from leaving their animals to fend for themselves.Read more
Thursday, 19 June 2014
Countryside Alliance Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner writes: A humble bunny hit the headlines this week when bestselling author Jeanette Winterson posted a photo on social media (pictured left) of a dead rabbit with the caption "Rabbit ate my parsley. I am eating the rabbit." The tweet saw plenty of support for Ms Winterson's actions, and the Countryside Alliance applauds her, but the tweet also generated plenty of hysteria. The fact that many of those getting agitated with Ms Winterson are meat-eaters shows how much work we have to do. Ms Winterson has done a sterling job in explaining her actions, pointing to the low food miles, no packaging waste and the benefits of taking a beast for the pot.Read more
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Ian Paisley Jr MP has tabled an Early Day Motion* (EDM) to congratulate the winners of the 2013 Rural Oscars, and recognise the importance of small and medium sized rural businesses to the rural economy. You can ask your MP to sign this EDM here http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/103. You can find your MP via a postcode search, complete with contact details, hereRead more
Monday, 12 May 2014
On Monday 12th May The Times reported: "The RSPCA is being urged by grassroots members to drop its Freedom Food farming scheme and launch a hardline attack on farmers. The charity is facing a split between its militant wing and the leadership over whether it should work to improve farming standards or concentrate on policing and prosecuting farms for poor welfare. A motion demanding that the RSPCA sticks to an increasingly radical agenda was overwhelmingly passed at its latest annual meeting, according to minutes leaked to The Times." Read the full story here (The Times is a subscription-based website.)
Thursday, 1 May 2014
Yesterday saw rural businesses from as far afield as the Orkneys, County Antrim and Anglesey descend on London for one of the biggest rural events in the Parliamentary calendar - the Rural Oscars UK reception. Despite the tube strike the event brought over 250 people together on the sun-soaked terrace at the House of Lords to celebrate rural Britain at the heart of Westminster.Read more
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
The 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards (aka the Rural Oscars) were presented to top rural businesses by the Secretary of State for Defra, Owen Paterson MP, at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on 30 April. The Parliamentary reception was attended by Regional Champions who had travelled from as far afield as the Orkney Islands, the Isle of Anglesey, County Antrim and many points in between. The UK Champions were announced by Countryside Alliance Chairman Kate Hoey MP on what has been an exceptional day for Yorkshire. Alliance President Baroness Mallalieu was on hand to present the inaugural Clarissa Dickson Wright Award to Cumbria's Sillfield Farm on behalf of her late friend and Awards judge Clarissa, who passed away in March.Read more