Farmers are looking to connect with their communities

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the benefits of collaboration in farming. 

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the benefits of collaboration in farming.

Research, undertaken by the Plunkett Foundation, has shown that farmers are looking to overcome barriers and find new ways to collaborate with their local communities.

The study found that a third of the farmers surveyed currently work with local businesses; with an additional third saying they would consider doing so in the future.

Younger farmers, under the age of 45, came out on top as the most likely to co-operative with other farmers and community groups and 47 per cent of those taking part agreed working with the local businesses would help them become more profitable.

However many farmers saw barriers stopping them from developing these collaborative links such as not having enough time, issues with supplying smaller quantities and the additional paper work.

“If there was somebody that was already doing it, it would be quite nice to get in touch with them and talk to them about their experiences,” said a farmer from the Midlands.

Nearly a quarter of farmers asked felt like they would have greater say and control over their products if they worked with local businesses.

“Being more in touch with your buyers gives you a better idea of what you are supposed to be producing,” explained a Northern farmer that would consider working with local businesses.

The campaign includes three guides to working collaboratively with local business and networks, using examples from the study and successful projects.

“It works well. People like to know where their food comes from. They like to know where it was reared and that it was enjoying life. It is a nice thing to do to produce local food,” said a farmer currently working with local businesses, in the South.

The guides are a research summary document outlining the key findings; a guide aimed at community food enterprises and local business and another at the farming community.

The research was conducted by SPA Future Thinking on behalf of Plunkett Foundation as part of the Making Local Food Work programme. It included sampling of 5,000 contacts from Farmers Weekly magazine.

• Read the guides below, or visit the Plunkett Foundation's website to download.

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