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Farewell to food?

Could it be that food really doesn't matter any more? Many journalists and campaigners would have us believe there are far more pressing issues than feeding ourselves right now and for some, it seems, food has become a bit....well, a bit outdated really.

Growing concerns about climate change have presented a valuable opportunity for those who advocate a shift towards a plant-based diet and the rewilding of vast tracts of the British countryside. This agenda is being pushed by multi-million dollar food businesses, eager to profit from a panic-induced shift to a fake food diet.

Food processors, manufacturers and retailers have reached a point where they have pretty much exhausted every avenue for extracting more margin from simple foods like meat, milk, fish and eggs. These foods might be packed with nutrients, but they are light on profit potential. Besides who's interested in eating dull, old-fashioned survival rations; life is an adventure, there has to be something more exciting than food for us to eat.

Then there's those boring old farmers, who drone on and on about how tough things are for them, from the luxury of their rural idylls. We're fed up of seeing them get paid all that money in subsidies, for doing what exactly?

An article published in The Guardian yesterday, with the title 'The End of Farming?', prompted me to write this blog. The following paragraph, taken from it, caught my attention.

"Farmers account for just 1.5% of the British population, but the size of their domain – 71% of the country’s surface area is classified as farmland – has given them power over the public imagination, reinforced by children’s books depicting resourceful hens and humorous porkers. Over time, this image of Britain – green, giving and blossomy, an Eden to which city-dwellers joyfully flee in moments of leisure – came to inform the country’s view of itself".

It would appear from the above extract that farmers have been pulling the proverbial wool over the eyes of misinformed consumers: using their "power over the public imagination" to deceive us since childhood. That's incredible! Farmers informing the country's view of itself - what utter bull excrement.

The country's view of itself (when it comes to food and farming) is largely informed by the adverts, labels and messages promoted by those who process, distribute and sell the food we buy. They are the creators of 'fake farm' labels and imaginative brand names. They are the ones who use images of animals roaming freely in fields to promote products that originate from factory farms. But, more importantly, they are the ones influencing the food agenda for their own financial gain.

Food business is looking for something new that's in tune with peoples' needs, worries and tastes. Let's have a little look at how new food business has seized upon climate change to demonise farmers and sell us a solution for all the problems they have created.

We are all busy people, but we all want to know what's going on in the world. There is plenty of news media out there to inform us and a lot of it is available on the go, through mobile devices. Sitting on the bus, or queuing for a coffee, we can scroll down and grab the essential headlines to give us a grasp of what's happening. But how many of us take the time to read in more depth, or seek out an alternative opinion to the eye catching headlines?

Livestock farming in Britain is suffering badly as a result of news on the go media. because this is the kind of thing it presents:

Snippets are assimilated by the reader to present what appears to be a logical solution to the problem proclaimed in the eye-catching headline. But a more in depth understanding of what's really going on might lead to a different conclusion.

If people can really understand where there food comes from, how it was produced and the benefits it has in a nutritious and healthy diet, there is a chance we can preserve (and I don't mean pickle) real food.

However, any attempt to do this will be met by stiff opposition by the 'anti-food' lobby, intent on covering farm land with trees and feeding us something grown in a laboratory. And, right now, it looks like they hold all the ace cards: they have built a well-crafted narrative around meat bad - plant good that has almost established an air of inevitability around the demise of farming and a farewell (or good riddance) to real food.

I didn't set up Produce & Provide to promote farming for farming's sake - I did it because I believe that the wonderful food Britain's small, family farms produce, is worth saving. Having lived on real food for over 50 years, I don't want to live the latter part of my life consuming synthetic substitutes. Eating food is a necessity. Enjoying real food, of known provenance, gives us so much more.

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