#FeedTheNation: Farmers appeal to public to buy British food

Farmers who have been working hard to #FeedTheNation during the coronavirus pandemic are urging the public to buy British and support local, sustainable agriculture.

Members of the Vale of Lune Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) in Lancaster have recorded a video in protest against some supermarkets stocking Polish mince during the coronavirus crisis.

The video features clips put together of young farmers passing a passing a packet of British mince around their farms, showcasing how essential the agricultural industry is to our crisis-hit country.

See also: #FeedTheNation: Farmers producing food amid lockdown

It begins with beef and sheep farmer Alan Taylor, 22, from Halton, calling dairy farmer Josh Pewsey, 26, to say he has just received his Sainsbury’s shopping online delivery – and it includes Polish mince beef. “I can’t be having that,” Mr Taylor tells his farming pal.

In a hilarious take on previous toilet roll passing videos, the video then shows clips of young farmers passing a packet of British beef mince between themselves. It ends with a naked Mr Pewsey holding a packet of British mince and displaying a Red Tractor farm assurance logo tattooed on his rear.

Mr Pewsey’s back British message

Check labels

Mr Taylor said: “The video was a great way for us to get together as a young farmers’ club and do something on our own farms during the lockdown.

“When the public visits supermarkets, we would like them to check country of origin labels on products and buy British to support our farmers.

“Since the coronavirus outbreak, more people are visiting their local butchers and farm shops, which is great. It’s important that they continue to support smaller, local businesses and keep towns and villages alive.”

The video has been viewed more than 33,000 times on Facebook and has received hundreds of likes and comments – you can see the full video on Facebook.

Farming organisations including the NFU and the National Beef Association have written to Sainsbury’s and Asda to ask for an explanation as to why they are pushing Polish beef in their stores.

‘Support our farmers’

In Northern Ireland, Grassmen TV has teamed up with Johnston Gilpin & Co and D Townley & Son to produce a video of a John Deere tractor ploughing the words “Support our farmers” into a frosted field in Islandmagee, County Antrim.

The video aims to raise awareness in support of farmers as key workers and highlight the importance not just of supporting them amid the crisis, but when life returns to normal.

“We have one of the safest and most transparent food production systems in the world. Support it #supportourfarmers #readthepacket #buylocal,” said a spokesperson for Grassmen.

In Scotland, 23 farmers and crofters have produced a video to reassure the public that they will do all they can to keep producing high quality food and drink on everyone’s table. The project was developed by NFU Scotland and Rebecca Dawes from Jane Craigie Marketing. 

Farmers have been continuing to show their support for NHS staff and care workers who are working around the clock to treat people suffering from Covid-19.

Surrey-based farmer Patrick Deeley and his team at Flower Farm in Godstone have been donating free fruit boxes to NHS staff.

He said: “We are looking after them, so that they can look after you – so now all you have to do is stay home.”

Rainbow sheep

Sheep farmers have also taken time away from the busy lambing season to post pictures on social media of sheep painted with bright rainbows on their fleece to say “thank ewe” to NHS staff.

Lancashire sheep farmer Emma Jackson sent in a photo of her with Miles the sheep displaying a rainbow on his fleece. “Miles and the gang will be baaaaing you along on Thursday night at 8pm for all key workers. Sending massive love. Stay safe,” she said.

At Manor Farm, in Failand, Bristol, young farmer Harry Jones and his dad spent two days putting NHS lettering in a field alongside a rainbow.

Meanwhile, the Country, Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging people to re-book cancelled Easter holidays in the UK once it’s safe to do so.

Choosing a “staycation” in the British countryside is not only greener, but also a great way to support the local, rural economy, it said. “The hard truth is that thousands of businesses, who are extremely welcoming to their guests, will go bust without their support,” said CLA vice-president Victoria Vyvyan.


Farmers Weekly is getting behind the #FeedtheNation campaign to back UK farmers working flat out to produce safe, affordable and reliable food to feed the nation during the coronavirus crisis.

With our partners, we are raising public awareness of this campaign by highlighting the actions farmers are taking to get food to consumers.

Join in the campaign by sharing your stories with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #FeedtheNation or email us at philip.case@markallengroup.com or telephone 020 8652 4905.

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