Edward Gallia runs the farm that his father bought in Dorset in the late 1960s. The main farming interest is predominantly arable although there are a range of other enterprises, which Edward manages. He has a lifelong interest and knowledge of natural history and environmental issues. Habitat management is an important part of the farm management. Edward has been providing farmers with such advice since 1997.
He writes: “I have become increasingly concerned by the disconnect between farmer-producer and the public-consumer. I believe that the drive towards ever lower prices is both part of the reason for this and also symptomatic of it. I can offer farm walks to show our farm and air the issues that way. This can often be more informative and interactive than a talk in a stuffy room.”
An extract from his draft: Provenance – the start of Ethical Shopping and Fair trade?
The following comment made me think: “Fair Trade farmers receive a guaranteed price for their produce, which is a premium over the cost of production”.
It is a wonderful aim and one we should all support. But should it really be restricted to Fair Trade Farmers in developing countries?
We farm at Nether Cerne, and when I heard that sentence I thought “Wouldn’t that be nice?!” Instead, I have to sell our produce (wheat, barley, oilseed rape and field beans) on prices dictated by world market forces. As a result, I can easily be paid less than the cost of production (this is happening for 2009 harvested crops). I would LOVE to receive a guaranteed price over my cost of production, with a premium on top.
Surely, “Fair trade” should start at home, by buying LOCAL (direct if possible) for those foodstuffs that can be grown locally? Then use the “Fair Trade” (or other) label for foodstuffs that can’t be grown locally and for which you need an external guarantee that what you are purchasing has been done so fairly . . .
Such purchasing shortens the food-chain, makes a connection between eater, the land and the grower; and, probably most importantly at the moment, supports the local economy. Furthermore, it allows Fair Trade to start at home which, surely, is where it should start?