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October 21, 2009
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12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2009 4:41 pm

    Alan, the beef farmer farming on his own well my heart just bleeds for him. He seems not to have noticed that he is exploiting his cattle for his own gain. Beef and Dairy farming is the most unsustainably part of Farming today. The grain used to feed these animals could be used for human consumption or the land the fodder is produced on used to grow crops to feed directly to Humans. There is a sad irony in this film.

    • November 9, 2009 9:45 am

      Hi Sam, Thanks, sure in raising meat the conversion factor is inefficient and we could eat the grain direct. Many of the problems of food production seem based on cultural expectations rather than efficiency of the system re inputs and outputs.
      It is the culture of farming and its sustainability that I wanted to examine in making this film, why people do what they do and how they are structured into the present system.
      Alan’s story is interesting and he is certainly not looking for sympathy so I think I will amend my prose in case it is giving that idea of him.
      Barry

  2. peter venning permalink
    November 8, 2009 7:01 pm

    I live in Spain, near Almeria, where there is a a disgusting profusion of plastic greenhouses which employ illegal workers from Africa in the most depraved and awfull conditions to supply GM crops to the big 4 supermarkets in the UK. I call these crops ¨Blood Tomatoes¨ as workers actually die in their production.
    Should you be interested and want more info on this massive scam which is being perpetrated by the EU, by dumping illegal chemicals on the Spanish market, ignoring the plight of the illegal immigrants coerced to work for the big 4, then I am happy to help, though tread lightly as food is an extremely important subject. Say no more!

  3. November 13, 2009 9:37 am

    Great stuff Barry! We’re looking forward to collaborating with you in the future at Camel Community Supported Agriculture – the first community food growing project of its kind in Cornwall.

  4. Paul Inman permalink
    November 13, 2009 9:38 am

    Really looking forward to seeing the film at Cornwall Film Festival, Barry.

  5. November 13, 2009 11:16 am

    thanks for the movie, barrycoo.
    There’s a University of Reading report on the threat to farming in SW England from the 5-a-day campaign.
    Yes, healthy eating is countercultural.

    And if that’s the case shouldn’t we be organising to create the sustainable and resilient food chains needed?

    And if anybody’s thinking about reducing their carbon footprint –
    “Food contributes around 18% to UK greenhouse gas emissions.”
    http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/food/security/index.htm

    Thanks for helping us think about what we eat

  6. Rob Curran permalink
    November 13, 2009 11:26 am

    Hey Barry,

    This is really good stuff, Barry. I wonder if the nascent UCF Fair Trade Group would be able to host a showing on campus? It would be good to raise awareness of these very local -and at the same time global- sustainability issues.

  7. Kym Martindale permalink
    November 13, 2009 12:57 pm

    A couple of years ago we watched Molly Dineen’s ‘The Lie of the Land’, and read Paul Kingsnorth’s ‘This England’. Despite some of the ideological problems with both film and book, they nevertheless prompted us to rethink where we shop. Luckily for us, we live close enough to Trevaskis Farm shop, who grow and breed much of their own food stuff or buy in as locally as they can (not all their stock is local – but they do need I guess, to cater for modern tastes and expectations to keep their organic and local stock afloat). The meat is top quality and ethical as far as we know, the service is fab, and as nearly as it can be, shopping is almost a pleasure. We rarely go to Tesco’s or the other big supermarkets now, but we do use the Co-op for certain regular purchases. Our shopping bills are more than if we bought everything at Lidl’s or Tesco, but the quality is superb, and the cost not really that much higher. We have three children in their teens, and we spend max. £125 week on all food.

  8. Anna Kingsley permalink
    November 13, 2009 2:13 pm

    Hello Barry – enjoyed watching the clips. I could listen to people talking on this subject for hours. I won’t be seeing the film at the festival, but am hoping to see it in full before too long. It’s a subject constantly on my mind and has influenced a lot of my decisions over the last few years. It may well be that, as pointed out above, beef farming is far from sustainable, but a model of small scale production for the surrounding area, with people sensible enough not to expect cheap beef at every meal, is something that I think actually could have been sustained rather than worn into the ground by cheap imports, fake food and grabbing supermarkets. Food isn’t cheap, people need to realise it. Where it appears cheap, it’s only an illusion created by exploitation.

    Good luck with your premiere!

  9. Lucy Frears permalink
    November 25, 2009 10:28 am

    Well done Barry. Kym, I also shop at farm shops, Trevaskis is owned by the prospective Conservative MP for your information.

  10. Anita Bigsby permalink
    January 12, 2010 9:03 pm

    I live in Ludlow, South Shropshire. There is actually a big move around here to grow, source and buy food locally – see Local to Ludlow. We have some excellent farmers markets where not just farmers but local bakers, butchers, brewers, cake makers, conservers etc. sell to the public and it keeps many small cottage industries vibrant and afloat. There is also a big move toward ‘growing your own’ and more land is being made available for allotments and communal garden/vegetable areas through philanthropic land owners, the church, or people who have large gardens but can’t manage it themselves.

    It was interesting what your beef/dairy farmer was saying about how it will all have to turn around somehow and farming can’t carry on the way it is. No it can’t. It needs to change back to traditional values and basics! But for many it is far too late. And so long as we are allowing supermarkets to dictate the market value of meat and veg, we are playing into their hands.

    The difference between Cornwall and Shropshire though is that we do have the land and a long history of farming and little else to support our economy. Cornwall has tourism. Infact Cornwall is just like a big holiday park. Shropshire, and South Shropshire in particular, is used to being self-sufficient. Ludlow traders and residents fought hard to stop Tesco from coming to the town knowing the changes that would take place once it was here. Many small shops have closed in its wake. Our small community used to sustain 6 butchers but we are down to three now.

    Ludlow, on the face of it, appears to be an affluent town with a wealthy and gentrified population. This isn’t necessarily so. Most visitors to the town at weekend and holidays are outsiders – tourists, coming to Ludlow to buy local produce, to taste locally made food and to buy into the personal, friendly touch that still exists here. The Ludlow Food and Drink Festival attracted over 20000 visitors this year which isn’t just a testament to people’s greed. I think it is a clear example that people generally want to slow down the pace of life and are looking for examples of how it can be successful – certainly, that is the impression I get from the visitors that I speak to. Ludlow also has Cittaslow status. This is an international network of small towns who work together to preserve their local environment by promoting a less frantic lifestyle, local goods and services. It works!

    I liked the films by the way! It’s given me ideas for doing similar here in the Marches Region.

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