It is hard to believe it was only two months ago when newspaper headlines read ‘Britain doesn’t need farmers’, says poultry farmer and owner of Flower Farm farm shop Patrick Deeley.
Fast forward seven weeks, and the nation’s farmers are back under the spotlight…only this time it is because we are at war.
We are at war with a virus and it’s time for everybody to muck in.
This pandemic has opened up sinkholes in the way that food is produced and consumed, and the current situation and the scarceness of some items, will lead to people taking a long, hard look at where their food comes from.
For the last six weeks people have been forced to eat at home, there are 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 of farmers and food producers.
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 to mass produce fad foods.
Food is not 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, food needs to change to the correct value - and now is the time.
This is an opportunity and as farmers and food producers, we need to take it - because we CAN guarantee food security.
Coronavirus will change the way we eat realigning the British agricultural economy - because it has to.