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Our countryside should match what we eat

What a shame that my surrounding fields are all currently yellow with oilseed rape, or green with wheat. No wonder our kids don’t know where their food comes from.

Surely it would be better to see cows, vegetables, chickens and the other foods we all regularly consume?

Intensive dairy farm

Intensive dairy farm

Modern farming and the ‘need’ for efficiency, generally means, that crops are grown on a large scale with huge expensive machinery, and very few workers, and animals are reared indoors. As a result most of this ‘green and pleasant land’ is similar to my local fields, with the occasional huge shed containing millions of chickens, pigs or cattle.

I am not saying we should make farmers return to small mixed organic farms, although when the oil, and phosphate fertiliser, runs out, farming will change.

School Crop for the Shop on BBC

BigBarn School Crop for the Shop on the BBC

Until then we need to change our surroundings and reconnect consumers with where food comes from. Here are a few ideas;
1. Get every school growing fruit and veg and trading with our Crop for the Shop scheme
2. Encourage councils to develop more community supported Agriculture projects
3. Follow the example of Incredible Edible and Transition Towns and build Food communities
4. Get the government to make Raw milk legal and support small dairies (click here for recent blog)
5. Join and support Landshare

BigBarn local food map with Crop for the Shop & Cheaper than Supermarket flags

BigBarn local food map with Crop for the Shop & Cheaper than Supermarket flags

I am convinced that the modern, ‘efficient’, food industry will fail to give us fresh, seasonal, healthy, food at a reasonable price. Especially if we continue down the route to GM crops, where the corporates will gain even more control of the food industry and manipulate prices.

Local food can be cheaper as proved by the hundreds of producers and retailers on our local food map flagged as ‘cheaper than the supermarket’. Not cheaper to attract customers but cheaper due to no supply chain cost and middlemen margins.

Let’s change, your thoughts are welcome below.


  1. Don’t you eat bread or cake or biscuits or weetabix for breakfast? Don’t you use rapeseed oil in dressings or to roast your potatoes?
    And what do you think the chickens and cows eat? And incidentally there are no huge sheds near you containing millions of cows and pigs.
    Yes, children need to know where their food from and if they can produce it then even better. But get your facts right and then people will listen to you and work with you.

    • bigbarnblog says:

      Thanks Anne, quite right. I do eat bread and rapeseed oil and am a great supporter of Open farm Sunday where kids can find out about where all the local wheat and rapeseed goes. Yes, there are no huge sheds near me with millions of cattle and pigs but plenty of chicken sheds. I was trying to make the point that over the last 20 years nearly all the dairy farmers I know have given up, and vegetable growers are doing the same. The trend in farming is going towards bigger sheds and GM, so to reconnect kids with food we need to get them involved in growing and trading food, hence my suggestions.

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