Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lucy's Big Ride, Day X

Lucy has now cycled 640 miles so she's over two thirds of the way to John O'Groats! Yesterday she cycled from Dumfries & Galloway to Lanarkshire in Central Scootland and unfortunately the weather has been horrible. While we've all barricaded ourselves inside against the wrath of constant rain over the past few days, Lucy has been struggling through it. This is perhaps a good time to thank The North Face store at the Trafford Centre for sorting Lucy out with a  nice waterproof cycling jacket for the trip! But how is this terrible weather affecting UK farming? Potatoes, carrots and apples aren't so lucky - waterproof jackets only come in certain sizes.

The recent relentless rain will spark fear into farmers across the land because it means more bad harvests. Recently, Jersey Royal potato growers have announced this to be the worst growing season in 20 years, with one farmer admitting that his last good crop was way back in 2008. Despite more being planted, the weather means that there will be thousands of tonnes of potatoes missing on the market this year. The rain has also affected fruit crops, with the moisture overload causing soft fruits to split, risking outbreaks of disease.

This is bad for the economy but also for UK food security. We currently import around 40% of our food and the constant bad weather is making farmers think twice about growing a wide range of crops, which means risking even more dependence on importing fruits and vegetables. For example, when farmers can't provide supermarkets with their full quota due to poor harvests, it's them that take the hit as they are forced to purchase the shortfall. This leads to many considering growing less perishable and more secure crops in bulk- such as winter wheat. You can't blame farmers for changing what they grow in order to put food on the table for their families... but nobody's winning if all we can put on the table each day is Weetabix. Let's give our farmers support and help make the UK more self-sufficient by making sure we buy British fruit and veg whenever possible!

"Mooooooake sure you buy local!"

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