Food has been high on the media agenda recently with single issues such an increasing move towards eating Vegan dominating social media. And on the issue of plastics and the damage it is causing to the environment, what packaging your food arrives in is of growing concern.
But where is the voice of the farmer in all of this? They are there if you look, but their share of the conversation and their contribution to the debate is weak by comparison. Why?
Largely because they are busy and many of them haven't needed to talk to consumers directly. In the past they have left that to the groups and marketing desks that act as the 'middle man'. They have to some extent lost control.
But times are changing and they are now being urged by experts in the wider food industry that there is no better time than now to make their voice heard.
There is a big issue for farmers, too, on consumer perceptions of scale in agriculture. Big farming/factory farming is demonised whereas smallholder farming is fêted. The rhetoric surrounding messianic support for the small-scale producer reminds us of Primrose the pig in George Orwell’s Animal Farm mindlessly chanting “Four legs good, two legs bad”. Most UK consumers, for example, would have no idea of what number of cows would constitute a large or small dairy herd. In fact, what is portrayed as gargantuan and the worst sort of industrialised farming by activists would be seen as barely economic in, say, South Island, New Zealand!