Mapping technology is being used to help pair seasonal workers and employers as the Covid-19 crisis means overseas workers will be unable to travel to the UK to get the harvest in.
The British Growers’ Association estimates the UK needs 70,000 seasonal workers this year and without them, it will not be possible to get the food out of the ground and into the supply chain, potentially causing food shortages.
Across the UK there have been calls to find ways to connect farms with potential workers, but no network had previously existed to rapidly deploy large numbers of workers to where they are needed.
UK company Home Grown launched the Land Army Initiative, utilising existing mapping technology. Farms and workers can put themselves on a map and see where there are local opportunities, removing the need for lengthy recruitment processes and centralised vetting from agencies, leaving farms to recruit at the necessary speed.
Home Grown is working with partners to bring farms and workers together in real-time – providing an easy-to-register operations centre which places workforce supply and demand on the map.
Edwina Mullins, vice-chair for online rural network #ClubHectare is working with Home Grown to promote the initiative. She said: “Helping our domestic sustainability is crucial. We have many people in the country out of work, especially in the hospitality, construction and retail industries. At the same time, we have farms desperate for workers.
“There is a need to build community relationships to create a thriving home marketplace for British farming and British workers. In these disruptive times, we all need new ways of thinking and dynamic engagement and I love the passion of this project to keep food on our plates during this difficult time.”
To put yourself on the map, visit: https://homegrown.earth/land-army/