The switch to more responsibility given to local communities, and the move towards self-sufficiency, can only benefit the economy as a whole, if local and national politics are satisfactorily meshed. The often lauded spirit of the British in the 2nd world war years is still to be found in local initiatives, such as those constantly brought to notice by such popular magazines as Country Living. This energy and spirit is what can transform the population from grudging, dissatisfied cogs in what is perceived as a fatally flawed machine imposed upon them, to a vital, lively, participating people aware of their ability to contribute. Local can do this. It's tangible, hands on, results can be seen directly. This will do more to boost productivity in the workplace overall, than any incentives devised from Westminster. As part of this process, the farmers' markets deserve all the encouragement they can get.
As the Transition Town movement has shown, there is a huge energy field waiting to be tapped in local communities if only the people are given suitable means to help themselves and organise their local environment responsibly. As peak oil and climate start to bite, the sustainability of local units will be key. Farmers' Markets are a perfect example of the way communities should be organised towards self-sufficiency. The question of advance signing is clearly crucial and the law preventing this should be changed asap. Local is advantageous in every respect: on the economy, on the ecology, on human health. The government should do all it can to encourage this trend, which is also, by the way, stimulating people out of their sense of powerlessness and the ensuing apathy that afflicts a large section of British life today.