Gillian's Column of the Week
Chichester, Sussex - For the Chichester Observer, Thursday 9th May, 2024
Supporting Chichester's local farmers and growers


Food production is a huge part of our local economy in Chichester. I’ve been working with the West Sussex Growers’ Association for many years now and recently joined them on a visit to Tangmere Nurseries and Barfoots in Bosham.

Tangmere Nurseries grow 68 million peppers each year, so if you’re getting peppers in your weekly shop, there’s a high chance that they were grown in Chichester!

At Tangmere and Barfoots we talked about some of the innovative growing techniques they have developed, including the use of drones to identify pests. This also feeds into their wider work on food security and their desire to see more produce grown here in the UK rather than imported.

The West Sussex Growers’ Association are also working with our local Skills Hub to inspire the next generation of growers. Their school outreach sessions are helping young people see the enormous variety of careers now available in farming in Chichester.

Supporting our growers is a top priority for me as your MP. I’m taking action here in Westminster to ensure they can keep their delicious produce in our supermarkets and kitchens, and will be looking to meet with my colleague Mark Spencer, the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, to ensure our farmers have the access to talent and resources they need for the future.

Gillian will meet with her ministerial colleagues to continue supporting our local farming industry
In Government we are also working to ensure our farmers are front and centre in our supermarkets. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Co-op have all joined our call to add a ‘buy British’ section on their websites so it’s now easier than ever to support local food production.

Last week saw local elections take place across the England and Wales, with people heading to the polls in Sussex to select our Police and Crime Commissioner.

While some will be disappointed by results in other parts of the country, I’m delighted that Katy Bourne has been re-elected as the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for our area. Her strong record of delivery was a key feature of her campaign. Under her leadership we have seen neighbourhood crime in Sussex cut by 23% and over 500 new police officers recruited since 2019.

I look forward to continuing to work with Katy on behalf of people across Chichester to ensure policing reflects your priorities, from tackling antisocial behaviour and shoplifting to stopping rural crime and speeding and dangerous driving. .