We have become accustomed to the phrase ‘from farm to fork’; it is about consumers and those within the food chain knowing where food comes from. It is an interest and concern that will not dwindle over time. The farmer, the primary link in the chain, has increasingly been required to assure the consumer, the retailer and the processor, that all is in order. It is verified so. Our food is traceable from field to consumer. Due diligence has been completed. But has all this certification created a system that works for all? Have we created an end-to-end supply-chain rather than a functional circle?
Too often, in our days of long supply-chains and dominant trading positions held by those active outside the farm-gate, the return linkages are forgotten. The circle is not complete, so the rewards do not find their way back to the farmer. Frequently they are excluded from the value-added within the chain. Regularly the system precludes them from adding value to their own produce. And at times, and importantly, the consumer to farmer, market-research loop fails to function. Localization of our food systems will help, but at all levels we need to close the circle. We must think ‘from farm to fork to farmer’; it is the key to the future viability of ‘family farming’ where ever it is to be found.
‘Farm to fork to farmer’ presents my musings about how to close the circle and, thus, to improve the farmer’s lot. It presents and archives my writings. And it also, briefly, highlights what help I can offer to those within our food chains.