Every time the field to fork message is delivered, we create a greater understanding of why that is important - Sophie McCandlish

The Field to Fork message is the key to eating well
The Field to Fork message is the key to eating well
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It was really inspiring to speak to Lee Appleton, regional centre director of The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield this week.

His idea to bring the countryside into the city and ultimately on to the roof of the shopping centre has created a community oasis and a valuable tool for teaching people where our food comes from.

The roof-top allotments give people a space to work with nature, something we know from research and more often our own experience, is invaluable for mental health and general wellbeing.

Lee said it had also fostered a community spirit with allotment holders helping each other out, sharing both produce and advice.

New Farm Payments Bill is welcomed by farming organisations but there is doubt about the Government's commitment to defend interests
It is a time of change for UK farming and one that will need careful navigation, investment and support - Sophie McCandlish

In recent years there have been so many reports highlighting the gulf between people’s knowledge and where our food comes from. Rob Copley, who farms at Cannon Hall said on their open days he tells children there was nothing we put on our fork which hasn’t come from a farm – even pizza.

That connection to the food we eat is an essential message in educating people how to eat well.

At the moment our farming community is working hard lobbying Government to protect the high food standards we take for granted. Every time the field to fork message is delivered, we create a greater understanding of why that is important.

A weekly gardening club passes on tips and helps ensure success and there is a real satisfaction to putting something on your plate you have grown yourself.

The Ridings has joined up with the Incredible Edible movement to host the gardening club. The Incredible Edible movement is incredible in itself. I first came across it in Todmorden where people could pick food as they walked down the street. Bringing fresh, seasonal food to everyone free of charge just seemed such a wonderful thing to do and its success bears testament to its importance.

The allotments on the roof in Wakefield are over-subscribed and Lee said people always want to stop and talk about them.

As we move forward with Brexit and the Basic Payment Scheme, a greater understanding of how we are all custodians of the countryside is needed and everyone from allotment to farm can help spread the word.