Exclusive Clive Beddall Leading grocery sector figures on Thursday threw their support behind a new initiative led by the Prince of Wales to tackle mounting business and environmental problems facing rural communities. Executives from IGD, the multiples, symbol groups, the co-ops, Food from Britain and food and drink manufacturing joined other business leaders for a private brainstorming session at Prince Charles' Gloucestershire home, Highgrove, as this issue went to press. The project has been started with the formation of a task force backed by the Prince, and entitled Business Action in Rural communities, deal with issues including local sourcing and the creation and preservation of Britain's market towns. Sources close to Prince Charles, who last year joined agriculture minister Nick Brown in a high profile campaign to unite the food chain, say he believes much can be learned by transferring the experience of Business in the Community, which was formed to tackle the problems in the inner cities, into the rural setting. During visits to local communities in recent months Prince Charles has repeatedly warned supermarkets and shoppers that the countryside's natural beauty is at risk if they fail to support local producers and buy more regional food and drink. And he has also warned it is important shoppers understand the importance of the link between consumer power and the sustainability of the land. The future of ailing village shops will also figure in the work of the new group. Significantly, Sainsbury, Spar, the CWS and United Norwest Co-op were among industry delegates at this week's private session at Highgrove. {{NEWS }}