Over the past eight months the Farmers Weekly #FeedTheNation initiative has championed the crucial role our farmers have played to keep the nation fed during one of the worst public health crises for a generation.
The initiative was created in March, with partners, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, to remind consumers where their food comes from – hard-working farmers.
Although we recognise they are not on the frontline responding to the virus – like our incredible nurses, doctors, NHS support staff and carers – farmers, farm workers, vets and others in food production from “farm to fork” were added to the government list of key workers whose work is critical to the Covid-19 response.
In the early days of the pandemic back in March, we all saw supermarket shelves run empty as panic-buying set in, exposing the fragility of our food system as people rushed to stock up on essentials.
However, this also served as a timely reminder of the crucial role our farmers and food producers play in society, who work tirelessly to keep the nation supplied with high-quality, safe, affordable food.
We look back at the highlights of the campaign and the farmers who were the stars of feeding the nation.
Working round the clock
Among the farmers whose work has been celebrated, we featured an 86-year-old Devonshire farmer who works every day to help feed the nation, a farming couple in Derbyshire who use vending machines to sell staple foods direct from the farmgate, and young farmers offering food deliveries to elderly and vulnerable people self-isolating.
Amid the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and the future of so many farming families and their livelihoods at stake, there has never been a more important time to back British farming.
Here are some of the highlights of our #FeedTheNation campaign:
March – Members of Probus Young Farmers’ Club in Cornwall provided food deliveries and support to elderly and vulnerable people self-isolating over the coronavirus.
April – Indefatigable farmer Alec Burrough, 86, still works every day to produce food on his organic dairy farm in Cullompton, Devon.
May – Essex farmers Ross and Sarah Barron and the team at G & J Barron Farms, in Chappel, kept locals fed using a tractor-trailer for doorstep food deliveries.
June – Derbyshire farmers Ed and Laura Pott have used vending machines to sell organic eggs, staple foods and beef produced at Watergo Farm, in Mickleover, directly to the public.
July – Suffolk farmers and contractors Thomas and Sophie Clayton emblazoned their Claas Lexion 750 with more than 200 children’s drawings of rainbows – and donated £1 to the NHS for every acre of crop harvested.
August – Lincolnshire-based potato merchant and grower Louth Potato Co sells 4,000t of spuds/year to 100 customers within 65 miles of its base.
September – An honesty box has helped Anna and David Taylor, of Chilly Cow ice cream, in Llanychan, Vale Clywd, stay afloat during Covid-19.
October – Kerr’s Dairy, based in Dundee, Scotland, has seen its doorstep delivery numbers soar amid the coronavirus, attracting nearly 300 new customers each week.
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 this harvest.
With our partners, we are raising public awareness of this campaign by highlighting the actions farmers are taking to get food to consumers.