Shoppers in Felixstowe urged to support local producers in June as East of England Co-op celebrates a decade of Sourced Locally with iconic portrait

The East of England Co-op is celebrating a landmark decade of its award-winning Sourced Locally initiative, which brings local produce to shoppers, during Sourced Locally Fortnight from 5th to 18th June.

East of England Co-op food stores across Felixstowe will be welcoming producers throughout the fortnight, who will be visiting to showcase their quality East Anglian produce and offer samples. Shoppers across the region are being asked to support these local businesses by making one swap in their basket for something local.

Sourced Locally was created by the East of England Co-op in 2007 to support local producers and has since ploughed £57 million back into the region’s economy. Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, commented: “It is our third Sourced Locally Fortnight and an extra special one as we mark ten years of Sourced Locally. East Anglia has a proud history of producing some of the most exceptional food in the country, and as the largest independent retailer in the region, we are passionate about championing this produce and bringing great local food to our customers.

“If you’re popping to the Co-op over the next fortnight, why not pick up a punnet of local strawberries? Or some great locally grown and produced crisps? We have thousands of different products all made right on our doorstep that taste fantastic. Buying local significantly reduces food miles and keeps our economy thriving.”

Marking the pivotal anniversary of the initiative, ten of the region’s top producers have come together for an iconic portrait by award-winning photographer Jenny Lewis, who is best known for her revered One Day Young project, which captures mothers within the first 24 hours since having a baby. She has also photographed of a host of well-known female icons, including Dame Maggie Smith, Keira Knightley, Celia Imrie and Naomi Harris. Now based at her studio in Hackney, London, Jenny grew up in Essex and her family has a farm in Suffolk.

The all-female shot was commissioned to celebrate the ten inspiring women who are helping to lead the future of food and drink production. A recent study shows that women account for 30% of the food and drink manufacturing workforce in the UK.(1) In agriculture, 28% of the workforce are female, with more than 25,000 running farms(2). However, with the number of women enrolling on agricultural courses now overtaking men(3), this gender imbalance looks set to become a thing of the past.

Each of the ten entrepreneurs are heavily involved in their respective food businesses, from managing farms to leading their own companies and creating new products. Some are part of a family collective, others have set out alone, but each has played a critical role in the success of their business. The group are spread across Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk and between them have racked up an impressive collection of awards, accolades and fans. All have their produce stocked in East of England Co-op food stores as part of the Co-op’s Sourced Locally initiative.

The ten participants, from left to right in the portrait, titled ‘The Future of British Produce’ are:

Emily French, Business Partner at Foxes Farm, which grows and supplies pumpkins and Christmas trees

Sue Whitehead, Business Partner and Rebecca Miles, Farm Manager (mother and daughter) at Lane Farm, producer of pork products

Louise Jones, Chief Executive Officer at Dan Hull Prepared Food, which sells premium, fresh and frozen, local, handmade food

Sarah Savage, Founder and Director at Essence Foods, which produces jams, mustards and chutneys

Fiona Brice, Joint Director at Havensfield Eggs, producers of fully traceable, free range eggs

Deborah Coe, Business Partner at Great Tilkey Honey, famed for its 100% natural Essex and Suffolk honey and most recent winner of the East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year award

Laura Strathern, Joint Owner at Fairfield Farm Crisps, made from home-grown crisping potatoes at her farm

Stephany Hardingham, Founder at Alder Tree Cream Ices, fruit flavoured cream ice created from a family recipe using fruit from the family farm

Hannah Marriage, Director at Marriage’s Flour, a family-run miller in Essex now in its 193rd year of producing flour.

The image was taken at Lane Farm in Brundish, Suffolk, and showcases the ten women in a traditional barn amid the iconic Suffolk landscape. As a specialist in bringing personalities to the forefront, Jenny’s portrait celebrates authenticity and camaraderie, showcasing a group of inspirational women with a passion for great food and business acumen.

Jenny commented: “I am proud to be a regular champion of strong women in my work, so I was keen to be involved in this project.

“My aim with the portrait was to be as authentic as possible and show the group as they are – some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the East of England.

“They were a genuine pleasure to photograph, with a real camaraderie between everyone. I’m hopeful that this platform will encourage and inspire a new generation of business women to follow in their footsteps.”

A special ‘meal deal’ has been created for Sourced Locally Fortnight, where customers can enjoy the traditional British favourite of ham, egg and chips for £5, using Taste of Suffolk ham, Havensfield eggs and local potatoes from farms across the region. For more information and to find out when a producer is next visiting your local Co-op, visit www.eastofengland.coop/

 

 

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