The Farmdrop Blog

Find out the latest from the fields and kitchens of our local producers and explore the best of British seasonal food.

Why you shouldn’t let Hugh’s food war go to waste

The TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has hit the headlines with his campaign to fight food waste and bring Britain back from being the ‘food waste capital of Europe’. After shocking scenes brought to light by Hugh, our founder Ben explains how by shopping with Farmdrop, you are part of the solution.

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Our founder Ben Pugh is a man on a mission

Hugh’s War on Waste on BBC ONE makes for yet more harrowing viewing. It’s a brilliant exposé of the total madness that our food system has descended into, and I take my hat off to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for providing viewers with such a genuine reflection of what’s going on in the fields on Britain.

But the real heroes for me are the Hammond family who struggle to keep their parsnip farm going. Over 40% of their root vegetables don’t make it onto the shop shelves - that’s 20 tonnes of parsnips being thrown away, from one farm. And there’s nothing they can do about it. I speak with farmers a lot, and getting them to publicly share the gory details of how badly supermarkets treat them is not easy, such is the culture of fear that six decades of supermarket dominance has created in the UK. A hard-working family farm tearfully pulling up their last parsnips before folding the business is as moving as it is sad, and as it is common.

The real villains conversely were the supermarket Morrisons, who ran a sham of a consumer ugly veg test (pitting fresh ‘perfect’ courgettes against old soft ugly ones. All at the same price). According to the man from Morrisons, the Hammond’s could have sold to anyone. It was all their own fault that they’d gone out of business, apparently.

Yes, I too am angry. But not for too much longer. Everyday Farmdrop finds more customers for our amazing local independent producers, and in so doing proves there is an entirely viable alternative to the bleak picture we saw on BBC1 last night.

In fact, Farmdrop was designed to tackle precisely these issues, to fix the food chain two simple ways:

Using technology to bring you ‘click-to-harvest’…

It sounds utopian but trust me, it’s not. Check out our video of the family at Chegworth Valley Farm (below). You place your order and we send it directly to our producers who cut their chard only after someone’s paid for it online. An added benefit (besides amazing fresh and tasty food), is that we would never have a reason to renege on a producer’s order.

David and Linda Deme gave up on supermarkets long ago and have run their award-winning Chegworth Valley Farm for over 30 years

To in turn give producers a much better deal

By removing all unnecessary costs in the chain, we can sustainably give producers approximately 75% of the retail price (I suspect the Hammond’s were keeping less than 40% of the retail price that Morrison’s sold their beautiful parsnips for).

So in answer to the question posed in Hugh’s War on Waste; should we care more about food producers than the sellers? The answer is definitely. They will look after our environment and our health by making the best food in the most sustainable way. The supermarkets do neither.

If you agree with me (and live in London), you can support your local producers by buying directly from them online.

Find out more about Hugh’s #wastenot campaign and pledge your support on www.wastenot.co.uk. Read more about Ben’s mission to fix the food chain in his interview in Country & Townhouse Magazine.