In a time of national crisis, HRH the Prince of Wales has praised the hard work and dedication of UK farmers and urged the public never to forget the “crucial importance of nature and farming”.
Prince Charles made the comments in a message published by Country Life.
“What this national crisis has also brought home – dare I say it – is how much we rely on our agricultural community and all those in the food supply chain, from field to fork,” he said, praising retailers, the supply chain, delivery drivers, shelf stackers and all those who serve shoppers.
“Of course, it all begins with our farmers,” he continued. “When was the last time anyone gave the availability of a bottle of milk, or a loaf of bread, or fresh vegetables a second thought? Suddenly, these things are precious and valued. And that is how it always should be.”
He goes on to praise the UK’s 80,000 farmers, from the Fells of Cumbria to the arable and vegetable lands of East Anglia; the Welsh mountains to Scottish fishing villages; dairy fields of Cornwall and Northern Ireland, to the orchards of Kent.
“Day in, day out, they are working to produce food – for us. And we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. But they cannot do it alone.”
He called for a rediscovery of the Land Army spirit of the Second World War, and encouraged the public to support the ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign by offering to help gather fruit and vegetables this harvest.
The Prince of Wales also described the growth of local food delivery services as “encouraging”, as we see an increasing number of people sourcing locally produced food – from vegetables, eggs, milk and meat to juice, homemade pies and cheese.
“With low food miles and simple, short supply chains, these initiatives are reminding us how things could be and they are serving to bind communities ever closer together too.”
He concluded by saying that when we come out of the pandemic, “we must learn some lessons” – on the importance of nature, localisation, and a kinder way of being.
“After the suffering and selflessness we are witnessing, we cannot allow ourselves to go back to how we were. This is a moment in history.”