THE advantages of buying local produce were highlighted at a meeting at Scaling Dam last week.

The meeting, held at the Grapes, brought together a coalition of local groups which would like to see changes to the supply and marketing of food: East Cleveland world development movement; Whitby organic farmers' and growers' group; the Camphill Village Trust community; MoorlandMeat Direct and the North York Moors national park.

The theme was "Thinking Globally and Acting Locally" in relation to food and farming and tables were stacked with locally grown organic vegetables for sale - red cabbage and carrots, leeks and winter purslane salad.

One result of a discussion on production and marketing was that those at the meeting hoped to look into establishing a farmers' market in the area.

Mr Andy Welford, a dairy farmer from Scaling, gave an illustrated talk showing that farming throughout the world was in crisis.

The international trade in food for the sake of profit rather than need pitted farmers against farmers across the world in the search for markets. It also meant that 25pc of the world's population was malnourished although the world was capable of producing three times the amount of food needed to feed everyone.

One way forward would be to encourage the idea of local production for local consumption. If local shoppers buying green beans grown in Kenya and flown to this country considered buying green cabbage from Glaisdale instead, it would free land in Kenya to grow food for Africans.

International trade and supermarket dominance meant huge fleets of lorries, clogging roads, using fuel and damaging the environment.

Discussion took place about the difficulty of marketing local produce, the pros and cons of organic produce, food miles and the need for good labelling. The producers all said the problem was not producing the goods, but marketing them.

For further details, or to become involved, contact Kier Brown of the national park on 01439 770657; Willie Summerson of Whitby organic farmers and growers on 01947 8440075; or Caryn Loftus of East Cleveland world development movement on 01287 280335