Independent retailers and local food producers in the Colne Valley have embarked on an ambitious plan to launch their own local food brand, and become entirely self-sufficient.

The new brand, called Colne U Copia, is to appear across a broad range of local food and drink products from fresh meat and bread to fruit and vegetables and alcoholic beverages.

Graham Mitchell, project co-ordinator and manager of the Green Valley Grocer in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, said the brand and new trading system would benefit the environment by cutting down on CO2 emissions and keeping money within the community.

Graham is currently working with local suppliers, other retailers, schools and restaurants to find ways of increasing the amount of local food produced and sold in the area, with the aim of declaring total independence from the global food system.

"Currently most of the food consumed in the Colne Valley comes from elsewhere; transported from around the country and around the world. The local community has little idea how it was produced, by whom, under what conditions, how it got to the local shops and who profits from it," he said.

Local food was the opposite, added local vegetable grower and Green Valley Grocer supplier Steve Smith. "Growers and producers are known, there is a confidence in the quality of the food and buying it supports the local economy," he said.

The group is being supported in its work by the Plunkett Foundation as part of Making Local Food Work, a £10m project funded by the Big Lottery Fund that aims to reconnect people across England to where their food comes from. A second meeting, bringing together all the key parties, including local MPs, is planned for next month.

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