International Women’s Day

On the 8th of March, it was International Women’s Day and I was asked who my most influential woman was and to be honest, I couldn’t answer. There have been so many great women, no one person came to mind. I am a farmer’s daughter and my mother worked as hard as anyone I will ever meet and will be 96 in April! She kept the farm going, milking her cows twice a day, right up to when she was in her 80s. Even though she stopped milking her cows, she still worked, tending her garden to grow whatever she could to feed her family right into her 90s. She was a land girl all her life and it was those land girls during the war, that undertook all aspects of farming to grow food and look after their livestock whilst the men were away fighting. They had weekly ration books and could have 1 fresh egg a week and just 3 pints of milk. Today none of us would survive if we were told we could not have what we fancy when we go shopping.

After the war ended, farmers were paid to grow crops to feed our people to rebuild our country. When the war started last year in Ukraine, all countries were told to grow food on every corner of land. Our British government are now asking our farmers to grow pretty flowers and crops that we can’t eat. What a mistake. Yes it’s important to put nutrients back into the soil and to look after our wildlife, but we are an island and we shouldn’t become a nature reserve without growing enough food to support ourselves and our families in someway or another first and foremost.

I’m struggling to understand the government’s decision to pay our farmers not to produce food. This is madness, especially when people are struggling to feed themselves and their young families. Our ministers are setting up new trade deals that could allow Canada, Mexico and other countries to flood a UK market with cheap food instead of home grown. We have so many risky food imports coming into our country which are unfit for human consumption, in fact lorry loads of it, reports are saying since we left the EU and now during the Ukraine war. We are more exposed now than we have ever been. Its still common practice for imported meat to contain growth hormones and antibiotics in it as practices overseas are nowhere near as high as our standards are here in England.

Seeing empty shelves in the the supermarket, as we just have with certain salad and vegetables, is only the start of things to come, so please support your local businesses that are working hard to put food on your tables and let’s all get growing together.

Barbara Cossins

Founder, Love Local Trust Local