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Connecting Farmers and Consumers

An article about Greek farmers working closely with urban families to improve their connection with food production has sparked a study project by an East Yorkshire farmer.

Tamara Hall, who runs the family enterprise of around 1,200 acres, has been selected as the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Nuffield Scholar for 2013. Tamara, who farms near Beverley, has chosen Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) as her subject and will travel to the project in Athens as well as to other initiatives in America, Japan and Scandinavia.

The Society is best known as the organiser of the annual Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live, and as an active supporter of agriculture and rural life.

Ms Hall explained: “My interest began after reading a newspaper article about how farmers were renting small areas of land to families in Athens. The families paid rent, chose what the farmers would grow, and in doing so agreed to buy the fruit and vegetables grown. There were benefits on both sides. The farmers were guaranteed a stable income and the families had cheaper, better quality and more sustainable food. In addition, it fostered a direct connection with how their food was produced.”

“Allotments are very popular and often oversubscribed and not everyone has the time or desire for one, so, as with the Athens project, community supported agriculture might work well in the UK as an alternative,” she said. She has already established a 65 plot community allotment project on her farm. “My main drive is to enable the consumer to be informed and engaged and give them a more ethical, tasteful and nutritious product choice.”

Ms Hall has a strong connection to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society - as a member of Council, a member of the Grants and Education Committee, a former winner of the East Yorkshire region of the Tye Trophy competition and more recently, as a competition judge. Committed to encouraging greater understanding of food production, she hosts around 30 school visits to the farm per year and is the local coordinator for Open Farm Sunday.  Under her direction, the farm already has the LEAF marquee accreditation and she helped re-launch the region’s FWAG group as Yorkshire Conservation and Farming where she is the East Yorkshire Chairman.

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