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5 ways the COVID crisis changed our relationship with farmers for the better

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

NatashaLS

Sep 01, 2020
8 minutes to read
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Farmer and soil health advocate Abby Rose is co-founder of award-winning British podcast, Farmerama Radio. Here she explains how the COVID crisis has changed our relationship with the hard-working folk who grow our food

Prior to the COVID crisis, many people didn’t have the need to have a direct relationship with farms. But one positive to come out of the pandemic is the significant shift in appreciation for the key workers who grow our food. Many of us have reconnected with where our food truly comes from - farms, the soil and the hands of people, not supermarket shelves. This is what Farmerama Radio’s latest series, Who Feeds Us?, celebrates - the people who have fed us, and continue to feed us, during the crisis and beyond…

These are 5 ways the COVID crisis has changed our relationship with farmers for the better -

1. Where supermarket supply chains failed, small scale farms came to the rescue. The COVID crisis exposed an industrialised global food system that was failing to serve its most basic purpose: to nourish everyone in our society. Very quickly it became clear that actually there was plenty of very good quality food grown on the British Isles, it’s just knowing where to find it. Initiatives like Farms to Feed Us popped up to help connect citizens to local farms selling good food. One month into lockdown more than 3 million people had bought from their local farm or CSA scheme for the first time. As many of the producers in the series tell us, they really enjoy having a direct relationship with their customers, and they intend to continue their new direct route to market beyond the crisis.

2. We found ways to grow our own food. People from all over the UK, from different backgrounds, beliefs, and classes started their own initiatives to access healthy, fresh food. Chefs turned to growing for their communities; restaurants and hospitality businesses sold food boxes with vegetables and essential items such as eggs, community supported agriculture (CSA) schemes grew, and people found ways to grow their own food or to teach others to grow.

3. We learned that real nourishment comes from the ground. While the pandemic made us realise that food is a daily necessity, in fact what has begun to hit home is that real nourishment comes from food grown in healthy soil. The recent released documentary, Kiss The Ground, further reinforced our need to prioritise healthy soil in order to have healthy farms, healthy food and healthy people. There are many farmers in the UK prioritising people, health and planet, and plenty of reasons to celebrate their hard work.

4. Growing food became about more than putting food on the table. What we discovered in producing this series is that for most people, growing and providing food is about much more than just feeding people. It provides a sense of community and dignity. There is a sense of responsibility in providing sustenance for families and communities. Beyond just putting food on the table, producing food is about community, healing, having a sense of self-worth and respect for the animals, the plants, and the people responsible for putting food on our plates - be that farmers, fishers, bakers, butchers or beekeepers.

5. We prioritised nourishment over calories. Once the panic buying of dry goods calmed down, people started to realise that in order to become more resilient to illness, they needed to eat nutritious food. As many of the people featured in Who Feeds Us share - the closer you are to the source, the more nutritious and tasty the food is - eating a tomato harvested from a local allotment gets people really fired up about what’s possible and the joy our food system could bring!

Farmerama Radio’s new series Who Feeds Us? is out on Sunday 11 October. A chorus from the people who have fed us throughout the Covid crisis, the podcast features people from all over the UK, of many different ages and beliefs, from different backgrounds, regions and classes; farmers, growers, community leaders, healers, chefs, bakers, beekeepers, and fishers. This is an important series about the relevance of food sovereignty to everyone in society. This means putting our food back in the hands of the people, and prioritising nature and nourishment. Tune into Farmerama Radio via all major podcast platforms or visit

https://farmerama.co/listen/

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