Community spirit shined through at Suppers On Us – Fiona Macdonald

In this latest blog post, Fiona Macdonald, Coordinator of the Yorkshire Rural Support Network at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society reflects on two successful ‘Supper On Us’ events.

What an amazing atmosphere! I’m still buzzing from the glow of a wonderful evening at our second ‘Supper On Us’ event at Farmer Copleys in Pontefract, which was made special by everyone who came along.

Thanks to the generosity of our hosts, Rob and Heather Copley and their fantastic team, a fine night was spent at their award-winning farm shop and venue, much like at our supper hosted so well by The Gamekeeper’s Inn in Threshfield a week earlier.

Some 90 farming folk joined the Farmer Copleys get-together, organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Yorkshire Rural Support Network in collaboration with Yorkshire Young Farmers and Future Farmers of Yorkshire, following a turnout of more than 60 in Threshfield.

Finally, there was a feeling of Spring in the air as we enjoyed a delicious spread of smoked meats, BBQ sides and gelato.

A walk of the farm’s tulip fields was also a welcome tonic and members of Pontefract Young Farmers did a terrific ‘turn’ as quizmasters.

Sense of community 

We all know how desperate these long months of wet weather have been, the damage and delays it has caused for growers, the impact on turning out and feeding livestock: there’s a financial and wellbeing toll that will continue to be paid for some time.

What we wanted to do was something positive and fun to give farmers a good excuse and welcome distraction to get off-farm and rekindle connections as we look ahead to better times to come.

I hope all those who attended the suppers at Farmer Copleys and at The Gamekeeper’s Inn came away with a little boost.

It may be cliché and corny, but despite all the changes in agriculture over the decades, it does still feel like a sense of togetherness and community continues to bind us, and I do believe this can be a powerful energy source to help sustain us, in good times and bad.

Togetherness is what made these supper events happen in the first place: an idea that was quickly backed by Yorkshire Young Farmers and Future Farmers of Yorkshire, and then the brilliant receptiveness and generosity of our hosts who also immediately grasped what we were trying to achieve and why.

We are grateful too to industry partners and media who kindly helped us to spread the word.

The suppers were a small gesture that we were fortunately able to put on as a charity that champions agriculture and supports farming families and professional development in the industry year-round.

We hope more people living and working in farming across all sectors of farming in Yorkshire look out for what we offer and benefit from it.

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In the meantime, on behalf of all my colleagues at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society: our very best wishes for the months ahead.

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Tom Scrope