1 June 2000
British public lack local knowledge

A STAGGERING 70% of the British public do not know what their local farmer grows, according to a new survey.

The poll by the National Farmers Union revealed that only a third of the public who answered knew the three main agricultural products in their region.

Less than half knew that asparagus and cherries were grown in Britain, and only a third were aware British farmers produced garlic and sugar.

Even regional brands failed to make an impact on the public.

In Wales 82% of those polled did not know that lamb was one of their primary produces.

And to complete a gloomy picture across the country, one third could not answer the questions at all.

Those with the least knowledge were between the ages of 16 and 24, while the over 55s knew the most about local farming and home-grown produce.

Simon Rayner of the NFU told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme that these results were “very worrying”.

He said that as many people live in towns and cities they have become increasingly distant from the farming industry.

Convenience shopping and the decreasing number of people working on the land increased the distance between town and countryside.

The NFU will try to strengthen the link between whats grown in the field and what people eat on their plates when its food and farming roadshow hits the road in the summer.

Mr Rayner said it was important for consumers to know what their local produce is if they are to make informed choices.

“If people are not aware what British produce is grown they wont be able to buy British produce,” he said.