What does harvest mean to us?
|Roly is on the tractor raking up the mown grass ready for it to baled and wrapped for winter feed for the sheep and cows.|
|Roly and Freddie in our spring barley crop which is again mowed, baled and wrapped for the cows to eat during winter.|
Very gradually over the years shopping for food has become a very remote experience from where the food was in fact actually grown. Food shopping has become so convenient that we can even have it delivered to us without actually needing to leave our homes at all! This does have major advantages in our busy lives but it does make it very removed from its actual source and it has often travelled a very long distance. Along this disconnected line lots happens and by the time it reaches our plate we often have no idea where it is from and who has taken the care to grow it or produce it for us. This has put a responsibility on farmers to be more open and where possible invite neighbours, schools and local communities to visit them and build up the understanding again of how food is produced and the care that is taken to look after all of our countryside and how we manage it responsibly. We therefore try to share what we do here at Saddlescombe and make our meat sales as accessible as possible and create an understanding of respect for the meat our customers buy and the care we take of our animals.
What can communities do to support farmers and celebrate harvest?
Due to the fantastic and diverse countryside of this country there will be no one way to support. Every farm, village and community is different but there are ways to find out about your local farm and if they can supply meat to fill up your freezer. Websites such as www.bigbarn.co.uk can be helpful as a starting point. Look out for open days which are advertised and Open Farm Sunday www.farmsunday.org which happens each year in June is a brilliant way to make contact and actually visit the farm and meet the farmers.
Communities can also support farmers in other ways through contact. We have wonderful regular walkers here on the south downs who are so helpful in letting us know if a gate has been left open or if there is a sheep or one of the cows they are concerned about.
Getting together to celebrate harvest is a wonderful way to thank farmers and praise God for his goodness.
Camilla, Roly, Molly, Freddie, Belle, Fly and Finch