“Coming to this conference is a blood transfusion. People get you, and get it.”
Blessed to be back in the beating heart of the agrarian revolution Oxford Real Farming Conference . This year I felt the call was louder, the solutions scalable and yet the young farmers seemed tired of fighting for their livelihood. So, I’ve signed up to volunteer for Farming Community Network that supports farmers who are often isolated, vulnerable, disconnected whilst facing failure and grief regularly on their doorstep. This organisation has a hotline where we are trained to listen, whilst having some understanding of the work. There are 400 volunteers across the UK , open seven days a week including Christmas Day. They arrange farm visits too should that be needed.
Unlike other ‘professions’ there is little coaching or management for farmers, and as we rely on them for our food, so we must value and celebrate them in our communities.
We are familiar with the horrific suicide rates for farmers across the globe, as the Guardian writes:
An Australian farmer dies by suicide every four days; in the UK, one farmer a week takes his or her own life; in France, one farmer dies by suicide every two days; in India, more than 270,000 farmers have died by suicide since 1995..
And similar figures in US where it is twice as high in farming than the general population. Take time to think about where you buy your food, who is benefitting, whose livelihood are you supporting, that deserves to be valued.