Hello, long time, no see
I had hoped that this week I might be able to mention the beautiful spring, but alas, it is still raining and I feel like we are living in South Wales. So sadly you may be due for a bit of a moan.
It is true I have been neglecting this site for many reasons. One of which is a collision with copyright law, which is an ongoing issue about which I probably should not say too much until it is resolved. But be aware it can happen to anyone when you least expect it, as it is far easier to make money out of the little people who cannot afford the lawyers than it is to go up against the big guys who can afford to go into battle. More on that subject another time.
Another reason was seriously falling out with the internet and the media in what appears to be its attempts to divide and conquer, rather than unite and lift-up. I am thoroughly irritated with the negative vibes in the media towards farming which seems to be based on information derived from sources who are probably as far removed from farming and nature as chalk and cheese. But even that is not a good example as both chalk and cheese are derived from nature. Anyhow suffice it to say that the "shiny bums" who go on and on about what you should eat or not eat, wear or not wear, start using or stop using. How many hours you should sleep or not sleep, what kind of house you should live in or not live in, how much time you should spend on social media or not spend......are really appealing to the angry side of my nature. Not a place where I like to spend too much time, especially when the weather is rubbish.
Large powerful lobby groups and international forums have a lot of sway with the media. The media like to sell headlines and social networking likes to get hits and advertising contracts. They also like to spend a lot of time globetrotting and conferencing and contributing themselves in a large way to things that they tell everyone else they shouldn't be doing, like pollution. The person whom they affect with their big media stories goes completely by the wayside, unnoticed, insignificant like a blot on the landscape.
What do we get from the media and these large organisations? Truth? Dishonesty?, Reality? Fiction? Look at the world you are living in and decide. What do we get from the blot on the landscape? Sustenance on a nutritional, environmental and emotional level. Or not?
I can only speak from my own experience in the field I am familiar with and have studied in and worked in for the last 30 years. To the best of my knowledge I have never met real farmers who want to damage the land that provides their income, or harm their livestock that provide their income. I have never met a farmer who wants to injure or impose ill health on the people who buy their products who provide their income. I have however, met farmers who are financially struggling and find it difficult to change their systems to a improve their environment. Many of these farmers have problems with prices from the buyers not covering the costs of production.
So who controls the prices? My own view on this is that it is the general public, myself include with this incessant search for cheap everything. Until we re-evaluate what is important in our lives and start to pay out the amount of money that something is actually worth, I don't believe the pricing problem for the producer is ever going to change, and power will continue to remain in the hands of the few already wealthy suppliers. Do we want that? Are we now incapable of free thought?
The revolution on plastic waste was an excellent example of how consumer pressure can force an issue. Pricing needs to be looked at with another part of your psyche requiring a willingness to accept that you need to pay more money for food to allow systems to change, but also ensuring that more of the money that you pay out actually lands in the hands of the producer who is in a position to change the system, not the global middmeman.
So, when you return from your holidays and sit down on your brand new sofa in front of your big screen telly, with your premium brand cellphone in your hand, sipping your café latte with extra cinnamon that you made with that posh new coffee machine you bought, whilst you rub your hands together over that pound you saved from going to the convenience store to buy your groceries. Spare a thought for that bloke or chick up the road who trudges through the mud EVERY day to feed the sheep/goats/pigs/cows or to till the soil for those sustainably grown vegetables and remember what it is that they provide for your convenience, and ask yourself why it is that farmers worldwide have some of the highest rates of suicide every year.
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area