Jack Evershed, a sheep farmer near Aberystwyth, feels privileged to work on the land, despite the accompanying responsibilities, and urges consumers to spend a little time considering where their food comes from
As our communities have developed from small groups of hunter-gatherers to the complex interconnected society we now inhabit, it has fallen on a very small percentage of the population to grow and harvest the food required.
Food security gives people time and space to concentrate on their day jobs which has led to exponential developments in the way we live, work and play. This places an onerous responsibility on producers to ensure a reliable supply of food in a way that protects the environment which enables that production.
Along with this responsibility comes the reward of living and working in that miraculous environment. Never has that reward seemed such a privilege as it did during the spring of this strange year. While much of the population were confined indoors, we were out in the fields shepherding the next generation of lambs and were blessed with extraordinarily fine weather. Not only did this mean we were living more normally (we are generally very anti-social at lambing time!) but we were able to maintain our connection with the natural world.
This need to connect with nature is deep-seated within all of us as evidenced by the benefits of the natural world on mental health, and the recognition that people needed to get outside even during the most stringent restrictions. Huge numbers of people finding time on their hands turned to gardening and cooking as rewarding ways to fill their days (compost and yeast became very scarce commodities).
This demonstrates to me that people in our supposed consumption driven, largely urbanised society have not lost their interest in where their food comes from, but simply do not have the time to explore that connection. When people revert to busy lifestyles farmers will continue to provide the food that allows that industry - hopefully many will remember the time and care that is needed to put food on the table.
This appreciation may justifiably be tinged with a little jealousy of our continuous interaction with the wonders of nature.