Updated: Feb 20
Just in case you hadn't noticed, the world is changing (quite a lot and quite quickly). It seems we can't take anything for granted from here on in; our freedom, our jobs, our health, or even the future of planet earth.
When it comes to the future of our food, so many of the worries and doubts people have are associated with the way food is produced on farms. The rise of industrial-scale livestock farming, to meet the demand for cheap food from supermarkets, may be regarded as progress and efficiency by some, but it is turning people off food.
Unfortunately our predominantly urban population, who are very aware of how their food choices impact on the world around them, have become so far removed from the countryside and our farms they are unaware of just how different farms can be. Produce & Provide seeks to inform consumers and help them find food from the kind of farms they want to support.
Whether the concerns people have are about the impact of farming on the environment, deforestation in South America, animal welfare, or their own health, all can be addressed by farmers. I am delighted to report that I have discovered so many farmers here, who are already developing sustainable farming systems that can restore real food to the people of Britain and Produce & Provide can help you find them.
Out in the British countryside, there is a new agricultural revolution quietly building, to meet the needs of this changing world. Ollie Hobbs (photographed above), is part of that revolution, selling super-fresh milk through a vending machine on his family's farm in Gloucestershire. This is a real 'grass roots' movement led by farmers: farmers who are harnessing farming practices of the past to deliver solutions for the tomorrow.
I established Produce & Provide to raise awareness of this rural effort and build a food system that is fit for purpose, for the next generation. I want to spark a real food revolution in which farmers and food citizens wrestle power and control from big food business, to feed us what we want and need rather than simply to make profit for shareholders. We are all rightful shareholders when it comes to food and we can buy shares in some wonderful British farms, simply by purchasing food direct from them.
You will find numerous websites, or 'e-commerce platforms' now selling local food, but the middleman has, in my opinion, always taken too big a slice of the pie. So Produce & Provide strives to offer something different. I want create a platform to facilitate direct connections: somewhere farmers can tell their own story about the food they produce, a place where people can make informed choices about the way their food is produced.
I was also want connect producers with one another, to enable them to collaborate and reach more people in their local communities. The competitors of farmers are not one another, they are big processors and retailers who dominate food business today. For too long, farmers have been dangled at the bottom of an increasingly long and twisted supply chain. So it's great to find so many who have already cut the links in the chain and made that connection with local customers.
One of the things that I find really exciting about the prospects for farming and food production today is the number of new entrants, many of whom who don't have a background in farming, but who come with new ideas and are driven by passion and ambition. I'm also glad to say there are a good number of those, like me, who are old enough to take lessons from the past and apply them to our farming today. Together, we can become a real force for change!
I am driven to do what I do by my love of food, nature, farm animals and the people who are the very fabric of rural Britain. But, I have learned that if you want to grow something, you have to share it, so I am always interested to hear from anyone who can help me take this forward. If you share the passion for what I have described here please get in touch.
I also want to thank those producers who have registered with Produce & Provide via the website. There is no charge for anyone to have a listing on our map. But, I would like to create a network of producers who are willing to work together, to grow their businesses and promote the true value of traditional family farms. If you are willing to join with others in building a brighter future for your farm and the whole of British farming please consider spending £9.99 to join us.