Farming: noun – The activity or business of growing crops and raising livestock
Has the time come to rename the industry?
It’s a simple concept, the act of growing food, but it’s an activity that engages fewer and fewer people. As we move into urban areas, pursue employment in tertiary and service industries, we’re leaving the toil to someone else.
If we’re not engaged in a business or activity, what’s the driver to maintain our interest or concern? Why should we care about somebody else’s work, work that we don’t fully understand?
Pounding the streets of a grey, urban jungle, the issues of varroa mites attacking honey bees or a sheep farmer battling scald are – in all honesty – not in the mind of the average worker.
The truth is ‘farming’ doesn’t resonate with many people, ‘food and farming’ does to a degree, mention food and now you’re talking!
So has the time come for the industry to be bold and drop the name? Ditch the word farming and use a different term that captures the imagination and interest of the twenty-first century consumer?
The Food Production Industry
The separation of food and farming is hugely frustrating and it’s a void that only seems to be getting wider, as though we don’t like to link the two. So how about renaming, farming, Food Production?
Doing so could maintain the link and promote interest and concern in the industry. Everybody eats food, very few people partake in farming.
At this point it’s worth noting that there’s no expectation for everyone to get growing (despite that being a wonderful utopia) but it would help both sides of the relationship if we understood each other a little more.
Statistics that a nearly one in ten secondary pupils think tomatoes grow underground or quarter of primary pupils think fish fingers come from chicken or pigs, are often published.
On the face of it, these are hilarious stories, but dwell a little longer and they’re deeply troubling. How can people adequately feed themselves if they don’t know what they’re eating?
At the end of the day farming is beyond the publics’ backyard, but food is firmly in their fridge.
Whilst dairy farmers battle low prices, lamb producers suffer from a similar situation, bee colonies collapse and every food producer in the land battles against an ever changing environment, we must step up and strengthen our relationships and redouble our conversations.
We find ourselves at a hugely important, exciting, but also troubling, juncture. The survival of our planet requires many things and for mankind, that starts with food.
So instead of thinking about farming, maybe think instead of food production. Whilst you’re there also reimagine the typical image of a farmer – they’re actually a long way off the stereotype!