Consumers get real life view on the farm
Londoners got an eye-opening experience of real life on the farm, with a visit to Ian Pigott’s Hertfordshire unit during an enterprising Future of Food initiative between Syngenta and the Evening Standard newspaper.
Following a series of projects to take farming messages into central London, this time it was the turn to take city dwellers out into the country to find out more about what goes into their food production.
Watch how they got on and what was learned from the day from all involved. Click here or on any of the video pictures.
Syngenta’s Will Holmes explained: “The disconnect between modern food production and the end consumer is one of our industry’s biggest challenges.
“Working with the Evening Standard, ‘The Future of Food’ is all about connecting with urban consumers, to help tell the story of farming and food production."
“Getting them out on the farm we’ve been looking at soils, soil health, bees, crop rotation, produce, and the end products from the farm - as well as the history and Ian’s management of the farm.”
An enthusiastic advocate of advancing consumers’ connections with their food sources, Ian Pigott highlighted the average UK consumer is more removed from farming than any other country in the world.
“The further we get away from food production the wider that disconnect, and perhaps why as farmers we need to do more to help people understand, or give people opportunities to see what we do on a farm,” he advocated.
“I got involved in the Evening Standard Syngenta event because it was a really good opportunity to meet with a group of people from London, hear their views, and share with them some of our ideas and challenges as a British farmer.”
The visit proved a fascinating insight into the farming business and food production that most of the visitors had never envisaged before. “It’s an eye-opener into exactly what’s going on on a farm,” reported a visitor, Ashley Lewis.
“I’ve learnt a lot, because I’m not really a ‘back to the land’ person. I’ve learnt how scientific farming is.”
“Ian, has been really gracious to share his knowledge on the practical aspects of being a farmer, some of the pitfalls, some of the problems he’s got in trying to bring product to market,” pointed out another visitor, Rodney Rascona.
“It’s not every day you come face-to-face with a farmer who is part of the unseen fabric of putting food on the table.
"I think that was very instilling to see his outward enthusiasm and responsibility he takes very seriously, and I felt that as a consumer,” he added.
Ian Pigott also highlighted: “We learnt a lot about where we need to improve, as farmers, in communicating better with people from non-farming audiences.”
Will Holmes concluded: “It’s important for Syngenta to be involved, as it is for everybody in the industry, to help contribute to bridging the gap between farming and the consumer.”