Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.
It was only a few years ago that we were talking constantly about milk crises. Dairy farmers were, and some still are, fighting for survival and the threat of mega dairies, and greater imports with lower standards from abroad, increase. This issue is back on the table as Brexit happens and we prepare to make concessions to secure trade deals around the world.
This makes milk a perfect example of how the ‘food industry’ commoditises products, meaning middle men and retailers can walk away with the vast majority of the profit leaving farmers and producers with precious little compensation for the hard work producing the goods. It’s strange that sometimes we can still find milk at cheaper prices than water in the supermarkets – that just doesn’t seem right!
We think it’s important that people know the food they eat or drink is a quality product and the story behind it is equally important, which is why we want to see food on the curriculum so that people know that milk comes from cows!
When I say quality, yes, milk is safe, consistent, has a long shelf life, nicely packaged and available everywhere. But shocking that the number of UK dairy farmers has shrunk from 22,000 in 1990 to around 9,600, that all the milk from all the herds is mixed together, whether Jersey, free range, or intensive, and that nearly all milk is fast-pasteurised and homogenised ruining its natural qualities.
What a shame that very few of us have a local dairy, see cows in nearby fields, can’t buy local milk and especially ‘raw’ un-pasteurised milk. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if every region or local area had its own milk. ‘Bedfordshire grass fed Jersey milk’, ‘Sussex Downs wild meadow Freisan raw Milk’ or even better local unbranded milk with the local farmer supplying everyone in a 10 mile radius.
This could happen! Some farmers have already taken this bold step, despite heavy government regulations against selling their own, or even, raw milk.
What we need is many more farmers following suit, government help and, we the consumer, buying local milk when it becomes available.
There certainly seems to be an appetite for local milk and the good old fashioned doorstep delivery. Perhaps if the dairy teams up with other local BigBarn suppliers we can get all our food delivered!
Here then are a few facts on why we think milk is great:
We consumers can change the food industry by simply, and quickly, changing our shopping habits when a better local food or milk option comes along.
Exciting times, we must try and make it happen.