Whilst whiling away some time yesterday afternoon, Twitter threw up a link to a short video about the reality of life for hill farmers dealing with the recent snow, just as lambing season kicked in.
Within minutes I was reduced to a puddle, a teary shell of my former self, as this passionate and committed farmer talked openly about the reality of their last few weeks.
Here at the SFT, we believe that one of the most effective ways of driving change within our food system is by sharing the stories of those working within it, to bring food to our tables. We need people to understand the reality of working life within the current industrial system, and share the stories of those trying to build something alternative.
Whether you believe your food should be local, organic, raw, vegan, processed or cheap, the one thing that we all must share is the belief that our country must have farmers, able to produce enough food here in England, so that if environmental, economic or resource related factors impact the current global system, the people living on this island will not starve from outsourcing the production of our basic staple foods to other countries. As UK citizens, each and everyone of us has a social responsibility to support people like Gareth Wyn-Jones. Our country was built on the backs of farmers like these, they represent our future food security and our ability to feed ourselves.
As consumers it is often easy to feel that there is little that you can practically do to impact the massive global food system, but as consumers every single individual has the power to create change based on the choices we make about how to spend the money we have. In this case we can buy British and support British farmers, whether in the supermarkets or preferably through our remaining independent retailers; high-street butchers and food producers.
However, if this video moves you as much as it moved me yesterday, I would strongly urge you to go one step further. Shake the hand that feeds you, make an effort to meet the people who produce your food, hear their stories for yourselves, understand the commitment and labour that goes into every product that finds its way onto your plate.
When you understand the work involved in producing our food, it is hard not to develop an increased sense of respect, and then paying a few pence extra for a product made here, might seem like small change in comparison.
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