New scheme to promote local products in the Cotswolds gets underway

Photo: @ShortTitle@

A new ‘environmental quality’ brand aimed at promoting landscape-friendly local produce and products in the Cotswolds has been established by the Cotswolds Conservation Board.

The Cotswolds Choice brand will recognise the high standards of environmental and landscape management for which farmers and landowners in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are renowned, helping consumers to choose and support foods and products that are so much a part of what makes the area special.

With generous assistance from the Stroud District Council’s Food Grants 2014, the Cotswolds Choice scheme is being piloted initially in the Stroud area, and the aim is then to roll the scheme out across the whole of the Cotswolds.

The scheme is being led by Stephen Aiano on behalf of the Cotswolds Conservation Board.
Steve commented: ‘I have lived with my family in the Cotswolds for almost 25 years now, so I know the area well. This opportunity of working in such a practical and constructive way with the rural community here is marvellous. Cotswolds Choice will be a very collaborative project, proactively bringing together the interests of producers, consumers and retailers. I am very confident that it will quickly make a significant contribution to the community.’

One local farmer already keen to lend support for the project is Rowland Blackwell from Barton End and leader of the Nailsworth Farmers’ Market. He said: "'Cotswolds Choice' is a very interesting and innovative initiative. We are keen to contribute to the discussions surrounding its formation. It has real potential to make a difference for the Cotswolds."

If you would like to learn more about Cotswolds Choice, contact Stephen Aiano on info@rural.support or on 07798645666.
ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape. www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk
The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: www.landscapesforlife.org.uk. For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit: www.nationalparks.gov.uk
Over 300 Cotswold Voluntary Wardens dedicate thousands of hours of practical conservation work every year across the AONB, as well as lead an annual programme of guided walks and undertake a range of promotional and educational work.