Close to 300,000 visitors will descend on British farms on June 9. I dreamed up Ferme ouverte dimanche (OFS) certains 14 Il y a ans. Its purpose is to build trust and bust misconceptions, bringing the public closer À agriculteurs et create an event worthy of media fanfare.
Although OFS will address many of the challenges specific to the United Kingdom, it holds lessons for farmers everywhere—and shows that when we tell our stories, we improve our reputation and prospects.
Managed by the charity FEUILLE, which stands for “Linking Environment and Farming,” OFS has become the largest single-day visitor event in the UK. Farms up and down the country, big and small welcome the public. We showcase the toil, wonder, et technologie of production and biodiversity qui farming delivers for The country and the countryside. Whilst corporate businesses see a need to hire spin médecins and public-relations juggernauts À greenwash their environmental credentials and allegiance to the sustainability of the planet, farmers open their gates. Honesty and openness are an easy sell.
Ce qui other industry can boast 400 businesses (exploitations agricoles) et 7,000 helpers (neighbouring farmers, husbands, wives, et local volunteers)? They give vers le haut not only a Dimanche, mais aussi jours devoted to preparation—all to offer visitors a free day out.
It’s media manna. Television, presse écrite, even Britain’s longest running radio soap, “The Archers,” trumpet the merits and euphoria surrounding our OFS. In a world of turmoil, we all enjoy some uplifting cheer.
Job done? Eh bien, not quite.
When OFS began, farmers were pushing at an open door. Le media back then broadcast seulement one story de British farming: a bad one. A portrayal de dirty farms peddling poor husbandry and a disregard for the countryside. The reality couldn’t have been more different—and now we’re enjoying a sea change in attitudes. Farmers have forged a much stronger relationship with the media. Le BBC’s flagship Sunday night programme about rural issues draws up to 7 million viewers. Niche food, provenance, and country wear brands are in vogue. Farmers unre once again seen as hard-working friends of environmental stewardship and sustainability, not the subsidy–grabbing foes of thriving habitats.
Yet a huge new challenge looms. On Halloween, British farming could turn into a pumpkin—because le UK is scheduled to leave the European Union sur octobre 31. In what has become un divisive, protracted, and shambolic process, Britain’s departure from the EU asks more questions than it answers for its farmers. Running parallel to Brexit, a new ungriculture bill is chugging its way through Parliament. We don’t know much de le detail surrounding the future of agricultural support ou trade arrangements with countries inside and outside of the EU.
Farming in Britain is going to come under a lot of pressure. A cut in farm support looks inevitable, as do some adverse tariffs or duties.
We have two choices. Join the race to the bottom and try and compete sur price with countries qui have much lower costs of productions ou make a compelling story as to why choosing British food at the checkout marks un commitment to food quality, a healthy environment, et un vibrant landscape.
Michael Gove the Secretary of State for Environnement, Food, et Rural Affairs has annoncé his desire to redistribute any direct farm support into “public goods.” Ironie du sort, conveying benefits of public goods to the public is not straightforward. Le du public Pang de culpabilité qui vient de exporting sa conscience sociale et environnementale lors de l’achat d’aliments importés gClotilde à une norme environnementale plus bas est de courte durée. “We ne peut pas être environnementallier soucieux de temps en temps,” dit Greta Thunberg, l’écolière suédoise qui a suscité l’environnemental protestations dans le monde entier. Les agriculteurs ont besoin de faire le cas pour Quand les consommateurs achètent britannique, ils investissent dans l’héritage thà crée des paysages qui nous entourent.
Et cela nous amène à OFS. Il n’y a pas de meilleure façon de plaider notre cause qu’en jetant ouvrir nos portes et en invitant tout le monde à nous rendre visite et voir ce que nous faisons.
Dans les années 1980, Arrêt de la Grande-BretagnePED mines et a commencé à charbon moins cher importateur. Mining communautés n’ont jamais entièrement récupéré. À moins que nous continuer à investir dans le relationship that we have with the British people our rural communities could suffer the same fate. The sentiment is with us. People are more aware of the climate and environmental challenges that we all face. As farmers we have all the ingredients for success; sustainable practice, a real commitment to biodiversity, and an openness and transparence to build trust.
We have such a great story to tell. Let’s share it.