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Portrait celebrates the women spearheading locally sourced food in Suffolk and East Anglia

The East of England Co-op has commissioned a portrait of 10 women shaping the futire of food production in the region. Picture: JENNY LEWIS

The East of England Co-op has commissioned a portrait of 10 women shaping the futire of food production in the region. Picture: JENNY LEWIS

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An award-winning scheme showcasing the very best of locally sourced food has marked its tenth anniversary with a special portrait celebrating the women spearheading the future of food and drink in the region.

The East of England Co-op’s Sourced Locally initiative was created in 2007 to support local producers and has led to £57million being ploughed back into the region’s economy.

To celebrate a decade of the scheme in action, 10 of the region’s top producers have come together for the portrait as part of Sourced Locally Fortnight, which runs from June 5 to June 18.

The portrait was snapped by renowned photographer Jenny Lewis, best known for her Day One Young project where she captured mothers within 24 hours of giving birth.

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of the East of England Co-op, said: “It is our third Sourced Locally Fortnight and an extra special one as we mark 10 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.”

The photo was taken at Lane Farm, Brundish, in Suffolk, and features 10 female entrepreneurs bringing some of the best food and drink from the farm to the dinner table. A recent study shows women account for 30% of the food and drink manufacturing workforce in the UK.

Jenny said: “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 businesswomen to follow in their footsteps.”

East of England Co-op stores in Ipswich will be welcoming producers throughout the fortnight to show off their wares and to offer samples. Shoppers are being urged to support the scheme by making one swap in their shopping basket to something locally produced.

The portrait features:

Emily French, business partner at Foxes Farm, which grows and supplies pumpkins and Christmas trees.

Sue Whitehead, business partner, and Rebecca Miles, farm manager, 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.

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