With so many farmers being forced out of business, something needs to change and it is up to shoppers to vote with their wallets. Throughout May shoppers are being urged to 'make one change' to the way they shop for food. In a bid to end supermarket domination, Anthony Davison, a Cambridgeshire farmer and founder of local food and drink website www.bigbarn.co.uk says buying local could help preserve the UK food industry and ensure the survival of rural communities.
“We're not asking people to make big changes, things as simple as signing up to a local milk delivery or veg box, shopping at the butchers, bakers or grocers, discovering a local producer or growing your own could make a big difference,” he explains.
Make One Change launched in 2015 and made strong inroads into getting more people to think about the way they shop for food. This year the campaign focusses on 'keeping it in the community' with shoppers encouraged to look within their area to help their own rural economy.
As part of the campaign, Anthony has launched a pilot Community Food Scheme in his villages of Alconbury and Alconbury West. Joining together with allotment owners, local schools and the village shop, Anthony is encouraging the villagers to become 'self-sufficient' and use as much as their home-grown veggies as possible to reduce food miles and bring new wealth to the area.
“Local food is just that, food that is grown near where you live. Obviously those in urban areas have more difficulty getting their hands on local produce, but rural areas have an abundance of fruit and veg on their doorstep that's ripe for the picking,” explains Anthony. “The scheme we're running works from the bottom up. The aim is to educate and inspire the young people in the village. We hope this will have a knock on effect that will capture all the villagers and really bring them together.
“If we don't support our rural businesses: dairies, farmers and small producers, then they will cease to exist. Something needs to change and campaigns like Make One Change are just one way to encourage people to take a long hard look at the way they shop for food and make some changes,” he adds.