Friday, October 19, 2007
Farmers - an endangered species
It continues to be in my awareness and there have been some excellent contributions from Farmer Phil, Podchef and Heather in the comments section, please go and read them.
Heather in particular offers the following suggestions :
Heather's draft guide for cheering up farming:
1: Think about the food you are eating - not just the posh restaurant meal on the weekend but the cake in Starbucks and the food in your freezer. Check out the yogurt in your fridge and where its practical start to source it locally and sustainably from farmers.
2: When you do use a supermarket - try to use Waitrose - they are the best at sourcing local sustainable produce from Farmers in LEAF.
3: Blog about it all, blog blog blog. Phone up the Wiggly Podcast and leave a message of support - or a rant 00441981 500930. We'll play it to the world. Come on the show - email me firstname.lastname@example.org, get involved with this www.heathergorringe.com
4: Ask a farmer to come and speak at your school or organise a farm visit. Check out the Year of Food and Farming
5: Get informed - it was the government research place that spread Foot and Mouth and other European countries have Blue Tongue and they dont shut down massive areas of farmland!
6: Grow things of your own (I know a really good mail order company that sells farm produced hedging, veggie seeds - birdfood all sorts...!)
There's a start anyway.
It is going to be mighty inconvenient to do this.........most people are going to say that they are too busy, not enough time= not enough money, what is the cost going to be?
If you grow fruit and vegetables in your garden you know how much work it takes and also the pleasure you have from eating something that is fresh, local and hopefully as organic as possible.
DH is in the process of starting a business venture in our local community but just like farmers, it seems to take ages because we need to have this and that certificate, go on this and that course and comply with this and that legislation. There is in principle nothing wrong with protecting the consumer but even at this level I keep asking myself, should we bother. Every course, every certificate gains you what exactly? I am not knocking it, it just seems that every step involves us paying a fee to an agency to put a stamp on what is mostly common sense. I guess it is the same with farmers.
The Uk has some of the most fantastic countryside, sheep eating the grass in the hills act as stewards to the countryside too, without them, land could go to what exactly?
What you can do easily to get an idea of a farmer's life :
Listen to Farming Today to get a flavour of what is happening and how real the situation is.
Go and source local ingredients and cook with what is in season.
Check out the Farming Help Appeal 2007 site for details.
Most of all, engage with what is happening and whatever level you can.