As an organic farmer, the arrival of Autumn allows a sigh of relief. The relentless pressure of the summer is finally winding down and we are settling into a routine of harvest, everything seems to slow down. Something we could all do a little bit more of.
October too can be a time for reflection. As a farmer, the simple things like tree planting, growing hedgerows and leaving wild patches can give immense pleasure. This is easy stuff that pays the most amazing dividends for the person and the planet, but in modern food systems, it is often dismissed as non-sensical and left to one side in favour of production. The irony, of course, is that food production is facilitated and improved by all of these positive things and the impact of our food choices have far-reaching and sometimes unimagined consequences.
Our parents chose well, they ate seasonally and locally, they ate less meat. Who doesn’t remember cabbage and turnip and the endless ways to cook potatoes! We have more power than we realise. We choose our phones, our clothes, our cars, our jobs, and yet our food and our planet tends to be relegated to the bottom of the decision pile if they are thought about at all. Maybe they deserve a little more consideration because our choices matter a lot and without the planet and the food none of the other stuff matters. What we eat and how our food is produced can change the world.
Words by Kenneth Keavey