Members of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) are calling on consumers to continue to buy local and support sustainable British farmers as the current COVID-19 crisis highlights the importance of these producers.
The NFFN has launched a new report revealing how farmers are managing to rapidly adapt in order to deal with sudden disruptions and increasing demand from local communities.
The Feeding the Nation: How Nature Friendly Farmers are Responding to Covid-19 report asks NFFN farmers how COVID-19 has impacted their businesses, how they are supporting local communities and how they have reacted to cope with the crisis.
Commenting on how the pandemic has altered his business, organic farmer Paul Sousek says the turnover in his Food Hub – which supplies produce from local farmers and growers – has risen by around 500%. “We can hardly keep up and may have to limit the total number of orders. However, it’s positive to see that people are supporting local and sustainable farmers during a pandemic and I hope to see this continue.”
A sustainable food supply chain in the UK has never been more crucial to help farmers provide healthy and sustainable food, avoid food waste and protect wildlife and the environment
He believes the current situation has demonstrated that most imports are unnecessary. “It may be desirable to import some foods from hotter countries, but why import vegetables, meat or flowers from countries with much the same climate as ours and lower welfare standards?”
Appealing to consumers to continue their support of sustainable British farmers rather than switching back to supermarkets after the crisis, he adds: “Buy local and organic produce. By buying your food from sustainable farms that you trust, you can guarantee your money is supporting the continued positive effect these farms have on the environment, such as improving wildlife habitats and addressing climate change.”
Martin Lines, chair of the NFFN, says: “A sustainable food supply chain in the UK has never been more crucial to help farmers provide healthy and sustainable food, avoid food waste and protect wildlife and the environment. I urge you to support your local nature friendly farmers during this crisis and beyond.”