The gap between farm and fork is something which I think about a lot. With the uncertainty of Brexit looming, it is something that everyone is going to have to think or more.
I read a great blog post by Jade from Out and About Poultry about the latest craze of internet cleaners. I am already aware of some of them. You only have to search on YouTube to find bloggers who promise to have your house clean in 30 minutes a day.
I’m not gong to lie here, they are addictive. These cleaners are the beauty bloggers for grownups and I actually enjoy watching them as they give me the inspiration I need to address my own home.
With three children and, being on a farm, my house is a long way away from the spotless homes and velour sofas with cream everything you see on Insta. I can’t even have ornaments or lamps in my living room thanks to two small boys.
As Jade mentioned, one instagram-cleaning queen, Mrs Hinch had a 100k follower growth in one week and has been instrumental in having cleaning products she endorses sell out in minutes and create crashes on the manufacturers web sites. She even appeared on This Morning.
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An amazing experience, thank you for having me on the show @itv @hollywilloughby @schofe ! Happy hinching everyone and thank you to my army for making this happen .. forever grateful #hincharmy #itvthismorning 💖 and thank you to my @makeupbygeorgiax for my make up and @tracylousnails for my nails .. As always xxx
I think she is great and I do like watching her Insta Stories. Like I said, I need a bit of inspiration around here.
As Jade said though, many farmers on social media don’t have half of the followers of the likes of Mrs Hinch. Why?
Well I think one reason is that everyone has to clean their house and Mrs Hinch is just an ordinary woman who has tapped into the nation’s brain to make their lives easier. Viewers relate to her ideology-even if their homes are not quite as perfect.
Like cleaning, every body needs to eat but, for some reason, the general public just cannot identify with farmers and I don’t know why.
Maybe it’s an antiquated impression that people have about farmers from the 1980s when people thought farmers are either filthy rich or living the Good Life like the 1970s television series.
The truth is that farmers and their families are just ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. On some of the farming groups I am in, farmers are just as likely to get excited about the newest scent of Zoflora as the next person, as well as discussing what’s for dinner and the latest television series. They are essentially, just like everyone else.
Despite farmers and their families reaching out to the general public through initiatives like Open Farm Sunday, social media and Farmers Markets, the gap between farm and fork seems to be continually growing.
Consumers are tied by two things-money and time. For whatever reason, home cooked meals are not the norm any more and this is where the main problem lies.
If a time-strapped person goes to the shop, they don’t really care where their food comes from as long as it is convenient.
Similarly, people in low-income households are more bothered about price than provenance and I can totally understand that. If these people can get imported, processed foods at a significantly reduced price to fresh, British products, for them, there really is no choice.
Even for people who don’t worry so much about money, if you can get 15 eggs for £1 in a discount store (rather than the premium eggs costing over £2 for six), it is not rocket science to presume which they will choose.
People’s ideologies have changed. You only have to look at the price of puppies. Someone would pay over £1000 for a pedigree puppy and a similar amount for a fashionable cross breed dog that 20 years ago, you wouldn’t have been got £20. Compare this to farmers, getting on average, £90 for a lamb at market. We have even had ewes sell for £5 which is less than a packet of cigarettes.
I don’t have the answer. I don’t know what is going to happen. It seems it is very difficult to change the mindset of a whole generation but maybe Brexit will force consumers to look at British food and farming again.
I hope so.
Failing that, I may set myself up as Mrs Finch on instagram and highlight my dusty farmhouse and lambs skipping off to market for £3.50 a head.
We need a farming Mrs Hinch who can capture the minds of the nation and make farming relevant and exciting to the general public.