Rural campaigners are backing a motion which will see Cornwall Council support local farmers in the face of meat bans elsewhere in the UK.
The motion, if passed, would see the authority commit to ensuring that all food provided at council meetings, including meat, dairy and vegetarian options, are sourced from local farmers.
The landmark motion would demonstrate the council’s commitment to farmers by proactively working to encourage residents to ‘shop locally’, urging them to take advantage of ‘home-grown, affordable, nutritious food’.
Submitted by Conservative councillor Nick Cracker (Liskeard), it recognises the "huge contribution made by [our] local farmers to the Cornish economy and its rural communities."
The motion reads: "Cornwall Council commits to developing stronger partnerships with our arable, livestock, and dairy farmers in order to enhance our magnificent countryside.
"The council will strive to support farmers, by being sympathetic to diversification opportunities and promotion of local produce."
The move comes in the face of several motions passed at other councils across the UK, which encourage residents to buy ‘plant-based’ produce in a move away from meat, while also committing to only source vegan options for councillors at events.
Oxfordshire County Council sparked outrage among farmers in 2021, when it passed a motion to ban meat and dairy at its events.
At the time, the council justified the policy saying it was "in the interest health of our planet and the health of our people."
Three councils, Edinburgh City Council, Norwich City Council and Haywards Heath Town Council in Sussex, have also signed up to the ‘Plant-Based Treaty’.
This calls for an end to the construction of any future livestock farm and pushes plant-based food in schools and hospitals. It also includes a pledge to promote vegan food over animal products.
Enfield Borough Council also removed meat from the menu of its catering service in 2020, while Cambridge City Council will transition to a fully plant-based catering for council meetings by 2026.
Speaking ahead of the council meeting on 23 May, Cllr Craker said: “Agriculture makes a significant contribution to our local economy, providing many jobs and opportunities for our rural communities across Cornwall.
"Domestic food production is of national importance, as is the important role agriculture has to play in protecting and enhancing our environment and ecology.
“As a councillor I want to ensure the council is fully playing its role to support our local farmers."
The Countryside Alliance, which is backing the motion, said the move would "recognise the significant contribution our farmers make to the countryside".
Mo Metcalf-Fisher, a spokesman for the group said: “Crucially, it demonstrates the importance of supporting local producers, cutting the distance travelled from farm to plate.
"This is vital in cutting down on mileage and emissions and doesn’t involve bashing those farmers who produce meat and dairy or imposing any one diet.
"We are throwing our weight behind this motion and urge all councillors, irrespective of political party, to do so too”.