I was recently asked to write an article for Countryman Magazine on a farming topic that I was passionate about. Anyone who knows me well would know straight away what that topic would be – food traceability! The point of knowing where your food comes from and buying the best treated produce that you can afford and source. So here are my ramblings (limited to 300 words!) on why food traceability is so important…
The Importance of Food Traceability
A survey commissioned by LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) showed that one third of British children did not know that pork came from pigs and 78% did not know that broccoli came from a plant. Statistics of this nature influenced me to start up an educational smallholding, Muddy Boots Farm, so the process from plant or animal into a meal could be seen firsthand. I knew I couldn’t educate a whole generation by myself but I thought that I could at least start to get more people learning about the ‘farm to fork‘ process and, with the help of the internet, I could share what I was doing to spread the word further.
It is vitally important for us to be able to trace the origins of our food because this means we can support our British farmers better and ensure we are buying produce from animals who are being treated humanely. Food traceability also encourages us to live more sustainably and supports healthy eating habits, both vital legacies for our future generations.
Adam Henson recently asked the public to try to only eat food they could trace for a week, with the hope that it would make them more aware of how difficult it is to identify food supply chains and to encourage consumers to ask questions about their food, which would put the pressure on suppliers to think about the origin of their products.
I am hopeful that with initiatives like Adam’s and businesses like mine, the concern for food traceability will grow and we will live in a society that is able to support British farming and high animal welfare. I just ask that next time you are shopping, you consider where your food has come from so you can live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, while also supporting local farmers.