A campaign spearheaded by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society is celebrating the crucial role that farmers and farm retailers are playing amid the worst public health crisis for a generation.
Farm To Fork is a social media-led initiative which champions the region’s important agricultural sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign highlights the innovative ways in which farm retailers have adapted to strict social distancing rules, by offering new services and creating safe shopping environments to give shoppers ready access to fresh British food.
With the help of Yorkshire’s farmers, Farm To Fork also tells the story of agriculture through the seasons to help explain to the public where, how and who produces the quality, nutritious food that the county has a proud reputation for.
Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, said:
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, we are doing everything we can as a charity to champion and support the farming community, and inform the public about what our farmers do.
The ways in which our everyday lives have changed in recent months has made many of us pause for thought and consider how we go about our business, including how and where we shop for food.
We hope this leads to a greater appreciation of the quality, nutritious produce that is supplied by farmers and is sold by farm retailers across Yorkshire.
Among the farmers whose work has been celebrated as part of the Farm To Fork campaign so far are Christine and David Thompson near Helmsley.
The couple breed sheep and grow barley for beer production and wheat that is used to make bread.
Mrs Thompson, pictured above, said:
We are lucky that our day to day work on the farm is largely unaffected by coronavirus.
It means we can get on with our job and continue to contribute to a big industry-wide effort across the country to produce the food we all need to stay healthy.
Farm retailers have been quick to respond to social distancing rules and new ways of serving customers, including by branching out into online sales and installing one-way systems, screens at tills, hand sanitiser points and limiting the number of shoppers inside farm shops at any one time.
Fodder at the Great Yorkshire Showground, pictured below, has closed its café but the farm shop is open Mondays to Saturdays.
Robust safety measures are in place and a limited number of shoppers are allowed inside at any one time. NHS workers are entitled to 10% off all purchases.
The shop’s food and drink takeaway service, Fodder on the Hoof, is also open in the car park.
Fodder sells produce from more than 430 local suppliers and profits help fund the charitable work of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
Heather Parry, Managing Director of Fodder, said:
The shop is very much open for business and we have introduced a raft of measures to ensure our staff and customers are safe.
This includes limiting the number of customers in the shop, social distancing, hand sanitisers, plastic screens at the tills, sterilizing baskets and trollies regularly and card payments only.
The Yorkshire Agricultural Society hopes Farm To Fork will have a lasting impact.
Mr Pulling added:
With the support of the farming community, we want to raise awareness of the food our farmers produce throughout the year and to promote the farm retail sector at a time when it is really rising to the challenge.
It would be fantastic, if by doing so, some shoppers develop new, lasting habits of choosing British food at the shop shelves and supporting local businesses.
Members of the farming community across Yorkshire are invited to support the campaign by submitting a simple photograph or video of themselves in action on the farm and a brief caption.
Farm retailers are welcome to send updates too, whether it is about new opening hours, the reopening of farm shop cafes or new online ordering services.
To contribute to the Farm To Fork campaign, email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and for the latest #FarmToFork updates, see the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.