New figures reveal that schools in the Scottish Borders spent £3,296 on French potatoes last year, despite the Borders having a thriving potato industry.
Local MSP John Lamont has criticised the council’s spending on spuds, believing that food miles for potatoes is unnecessary considering the strength of the industry in the Borders. One of the leading producers in the UK, Greenvale, has a growing hub based in Duns.
The figures, provided in response to a freedom of information request, also show that schools spent nearly £31,000 on chicken from Thailand, despite there being far more local options.
John Lamont MSP said: “It seems incredible that the council is shipping potatoes hundreds of miles from France, when they are grown right here in the Borders.
“Berwickshire in particular produces some of the world’s best potatoes, which is why one of the UK’s largest grower and distributor, Greenvale are based here.
“The fact that pupils are tucking into French potatoes rather than those produced on our doorstep gives out the completely wrong message on food miles and carbon footprint. I am sure that the hard working cooks and staff at Borders schools would far rather be dealing with fresher produce which has come from just down the road.
John added: “Scottish Borders Council should be better supporting Borders based businesses by buying local as far as possible.”