You know the stories. From David & Goliath to Robin Hood, to Eric the schoolboy who transforms into Bananaman! The classic underdog fighting against injustice. Or the humble crusader who’s unknown by day, but a world-saving superhero by night.
Well, we think our British farmers are classic superheroes too. Why? Because without them, we’d all be pretty hungry!
You see, of the £120 billion food and farming sector in the UK, small farms make up two thirds. Worryingly however, these holdings are in serious decline – risking thousands of miles of countryside, over 3 million jobs, and a serious gap in UK food production!
So, we’ve decided to back the little guy. And with ‘British Farming Day’ approaching in Autumn 2021, and farmers up and down the UK busy with this year’s harvest, we thought we’d highlight some of the challenges our favourite producers face – and how we can all help.
WHAT ARE OUR HEROES BATTLING AGAINST?
A lot. Farmers have so much to contend with and. in many cases, they’re doing it all alone. Here are just a few of the things they’re dealing with:
- Global Climate Change: This is the biggie on everyone’s lips. Climate change has a huge effect on how we manage our land. Most farmers rely on consistent weather patterns but in recent years we have seen unexpected weather fronts, from flooding to droughts, to crop-damaging hailstones. They’re fighting against nature!
- Mass Food Wastage: More than one-third of food produced globally is wasted. Considering we have a growing population; we can’t afford to waste food. Plus, it creates opportunities for high-volume producers to capitalise on demand, introduce pollution-generating production methods, and drive the price farmers can command for their food down to unsustainable levels.
- Pressure on Food Prices: A few years ago, discounted milk prices in supermarkets meant farmers got paid less for a pint of milk than it cost to produce it. These days Brexit has created a vacuum on lamb prices as the door is opened for cheaper, lower-quality imports from abroad that don’t have to meet EU criteria. This is all despite a majority of Brits wanting farmers to receive fair pay for their produce. It gets harder to compete every year.
- Keeping the Farm Going: Farming needs farmers. But with food prices so low, our farmers can’t afford to invest in the help they need, upskill themselves, or attract younger talent to take over. With just 13% of farmers under 45 – it’s a ticking time bomb. We need to keep the farms going!
SO, HOW CAN YOU HELP?
All superheroes have their sidekicks. In this scenario, that’s you! There are so many things you can do to help our farmers.
- Start ‘Em Young: As with many things, education is one of the most reliable ways to ensure the future of our farming industry. We shouldn’t just rely on our schools either. As parents, we have a duty to help our children understand just how important farming is. Why not have look at The Soil Association’s Food For Life Farm Finder and take a visit to a farm near you – everyone’s bound to have a great day out!
- Shop Local: Not only do local farm shops and markets sell incredible produce but by shopping local, we can support local producers and reduce the supply chain carbon footprint at the same time – reducing the startling 60% of UK trips by car which are under two miles. (Meaning there’s also the added benefit of getting those extra steps in!)
- Create Less Waste: Globally we’re facing an unsustainable food shortage. Planning our weekly shop is not only better for the planet – and our struggling farmers – it is also better for your household budget. A third less waste can equal a tidy amount of money.
- Exercise Your Right to Choose: There are so many mass-produced items on our supermarket shelves that are damaging our planet. By keeping an eye out for products that are made using environmentally sustainable ways, or which support UK farming, you can be sure you’re doing your bit to help protect the future of our food chain.
WE’RE ALL IN IT TOGETHER!
As we all know, the best hero/sidekick combinations, usually have outside help. And that’s where we all come in.
At The Consumer Brand we believe, like many of you, that farmers should be paid fairly. So that they can afford to farm in the right way and so they can reinvest earnings into the future of farming. Which will benefit all of us.
By asking you, the consumer, where you want your food to come from, the standard of animal welfare you expect, and even how sustainable the packaging should be, we can make incredible products for you to buy at prices that are fair to both you and our farmers.
It’s an ongoing battle. But we’re making a difference. We’ve recently launched our flour product which is available to buy now and next up, it’s eggs. Head over to our questionnaire page to have your say on the kind of eggs you’d like to buy.
One product at a time we’re backing our farmer heroes. You don’t need a cape, you don’t need a pair of tights, you just need to join us. Are you in?