It’s hard to believe it was only two months ago when newspaper headlines read ‘Britain doesn’t need farmers’. Fast forward a few weeks, and the nation’s farmers have been back under the spotlight – only this time it’s because we’re at war with a virus and it’s time for everybody to muck in.
The pandemic has opened up sinkholes in the way food is produced and consumed. The outcome, I think, current with the scarcity of some items, will lead people to take a long, hard look at where their food comes from.
For the last few weeks people have been forced to eat at home, and there have been no trips to restaurants, no favourite snack foods, no fancy coffees – it’s all been swept away.
And for many the kitchen has now become the centre of the house, a house where the primary topic is no longer EastEnders, but “what’s for dinner?”
For many, this is their first opportunity to cook and sample the delights of their creations – and what goes into those creations is the focal point for farmers and food producers.
Why the pandemic is an opportunity
And I believe that this is an opportunity for us – as farmers and growers – to showcase ourselves and what we do.
To re-educate the nation that for nearly every conceivable meal created in the kitchen most of the produce can be grown in the UK.
And that in buying your food from UK farmers, you contribute enormously to carbon emission reduction; cutting out the air and shipping freight and deforestation in remote countries, caused by the continued quest for mass produce fad foods.
Food isn’t a luxury item – the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that.
And after years of retailers vying for trade through price wars with promotions on heavily subsidised products that give a false sense of their worth, it’s now time to recognise the true value of food.
This is an opportunity and as farmers and food producers, we need to take it, because we CAN guarantee national food security.
Coronavirus will change the way we eat, realigning the British agricultural economy – because it has to.
About Patrick and his farm
Flower Farm has been owned by the Deeley family since 1974. The 150-acre farm has pick your own fresh produce, turkeys, beef cattle, and free-range chickens. With a farm shop, tea room and microbrewery, Flower Farm is home to Godstoneberry festival, Oktoberryfest, Jingleberry and a number of other events throughout the year.
Flower Farm’s online food delivery and collection service which supplies 6,000 people a week was established in response to COVID-19 on 18th March 2020: www.flower-farm.co.uk.