As well as encouraging residents to support local farmers, a council should be sure to put its own money where its mouth is when it can, local Conservatives have urged.

Conservative group leader of West Yorkshire's Calderdale Council, Cllr Steven Leigh’s motion to be debated by the full authority next week (Feb 14) wants councillors to back his call.

Cllr Leigh’s (Con, Ryburn) motion calls on the council to resolve “to support our farmers and rural businesses, by committing, where possible, to sourcing food from local suppliers for all council-organised events.

“This includes meat, dairy, and plant-based produce, which not only supports local farmers but also provides attendees with fresh and nutritious food,” he says.

Cllr Leigh says the council can do this by promoting stronger partnerships with Calderdale’s arable, livestock, and dairy farmers, “helping to enhance our countryside while providing opportunities for diversification and the promotion of local produce”.

The Northern Farmer: Coun Steven Leigh

The council could encourage residents to shop locally wherever possible, making the most of the affordable and nutritious food available in the region.

“By doing so, we can help our rural communities to thrive while supporting the growth of the local economy,” says Cllr Leigh.

The council should also promote the Rural Fund and provide assistance to those who want to take advantage of this opportunity, he said.

He says he is proposing the motion because at the moment rural communities face many challenges ranging from poor connectivity and transport links to limited access to key services

The rural economy, including agriculture, is a lifeline for many residents and businesses, making it imperative to support it for a healthy and prosperous region and is supported by their party’s Government’s Rural Fund, say the Conservatives.

Capital funding from the fund will support new and existing rural businesses to develop new products and facilities that will be of wider benefit to the local economy, they say.

And with Calderdale’s commitment to reaching net zero, co-operation with the rural economy is more critical than ever, making this an opportune time for businesses to take advantage of this scheme and contribute to “a more prosperous and sustainable future for Calderdale”, argues the motion.