Cheshire is a predominantly rural county and is dependent on its rural economy, environment and heritage. 83% of the total county area is identified as being rural and 70% of land in Cheshire remains in agricultural use. Almost 25% of Cheshire’s population live in rural areas and 11% of Cheshire’s workforce are employed in agriculture (including tourism and the food trade).
Farm size and type has varied significantly in the last ten years. The total number of farms has actually increased in recent years whilst the total area has decreased by around 10,000 hectares in the last ten years. The number of small (<5 hectares) and large (100< hectares) farms have increased whilst the number of medium sized farms decreased. In 2002 the most dominant farm type was mixed and other followed by cattle and sheep and then dairy. One third of Cheshire’s agricultural land is classified as Grade 3 (good to moderate) by DEFRA, so explains why dairying has historically predominated.
Across Cheshire a range of schemes are linking local food producers directly with consumers. These provide a number of environmental, social and economic benefits which include fresh, healthy local produce at a fair price, secure local markets for local producers, increasing employment through local food enterprises and reducing the number of ‘food miles’ travelled.
To support the UK Government Sustainable Development Strategy there is a suite of 68 national sustainable development indicators.
For information on national indicators, visit the governments sustainable development website
In an effort to put the UK’s progress in sustainable development into an international context, and to highlight worldwide trends and challenges, a set of international data has been compiled to complement the 68 national indicators of sustainable development.
For more information on international indicators visit visit the governments sustainable development website
Regional indicators for the Northwest
For each Government Office region a fact sheet has been produced.
The fact sheets include pie charts that summarise the progress in indicators within the priority areas of (a) sustainable consumption and production and natural resources, and (b) sustainable communities.
For more information on regional information visit visit the governments sustainable development website
Cheshire Rural Enterprise
Rural Enterprise is a grant initiative which aims to support a range of regeneration activities in rural Cheshire, Warrington and Halton.Over £10m has been made available to fund a variety of projects including direct support to businesses, physical improvements to our market towns and villages, as well as supporting the agriculture sector, tourism, the environment and communities.
Farmers’ Markets allow growers or producers sell their own produce direct to the public. In Cheshire, there are markets currently operating in Chester, Congleton, Kelsall, High Legh, Wimboldsley, Ellesmere Port, Knutsford, Northwich, Wincle, Wilmslow, Middlewich, Sandbach, Alderley Edge and Nantwich.
“Made in Cheshire”
This is a branding initiative working with industry and partners to market and promote local/distinctive food produced in our region
Local Food Festivals
Such as the Nantwich Food Festival which is held annually. These events help to raise awareness of locally produced food and drink.
Environmental Stewardship makes payments to farmers and other land managers to enhance and conserve English landscapes, their wildlife and history and to help people to enjoy them.
North West Fine Foods
NWFF aims to support and encourage the promotion and development of the quality food and drink industry in the North West.
Cheshire Rural Enterprise
|Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs|
|North West Development Agency|
|Country Land and Business Association|
|European Commission – Common Agricultural Policy|
|Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group|
|Farming and Countryside Education|
|Linking Environment and Farming|
|National Farmers Union|
|FOOD PRODUCTION/ORGANIC FOOD|
|Food Standards Agency|