The search is on for the best local food and drink producers, diversified businesses, young farmers and commoners, and volunteers who support the New Forest’s landscape and economy.
The New Forest National Park Authority and the CLA have launched their 2017 awards which, each year, reward the best rural businesses and environmental initiatives in the New Forest area.
This year, for the first time, the award for rural diversification has been extended to cover the whole of Hampshire, with an emphasis on innovative projects which bring jobs and growth to the rural economy, are sustainable and enhance the local environment.
Awards will be made across four categories:
- Young Farmer/Commoner
- Best Supporter of Local Produce
- Rural Diversification.
The winners in each category will be presented with a trophy at this summer’s awards ceremony, held at the New Forest Show on 27 July.
Robin Edwards, South East Regional Director at the CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, said: ‘Recent CLA research has shown that rural businesses may be typically small businesses, but they invest for the long term, are significant contributors to the economy and have the potential for strong further growth. These awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate their success and the achievements of those individuals and organisations which make a vital contribution to the economy and environment of the New Forest.’
New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes, said: ‘This is the fifth year we have joined forces with the CLA to run these awards, which have recognised so many special people at the heart of the living, working Forest.
‘Whenever I meet the winners of this award scheme their passion for the Forest and securing it for future generations always shines through. If you know somebody who goes above and beyond in the fields of commoning, local produce, sustainability or rural diversification please do nominate them for an award. This is the chance for all of us to show how much we value their selfless work.’
Nominations and entries can be made online here. Nominations for each category will also be made by specialist local organisations.
The full criteria and rules can be viewed here. To request a paper copy of the nomination form please contact the New Forest National Park Authority on 01590 646650.
The closing date for entries is Friday 23 May 2017.