Prince of Wales urges people to support UK family farms and help save our countryside

by British Growers

We wholeheartedly welcome His Royal Highness The Price of Wales recent birthday message published in Country Life urging people to buy British food whenever they can to support family farms and help save the UK countryside.

Heir to the throne, Charles, called on the public to harness their consumer power by shopping for home-grown produce instead of imported food in a special message to mark his 67th birthday last month.

He raises some very important points about “our living, breathing, working countryside” and how we can all help our farmers and rural communities by buying British food whenever we can.

"In doing so,” he said, “we are also more likely to be getting fresh, high quality produce from a known and trusted source, offering good value for money.

"It seems to me that the key is to make it as easy as possible for people to know when they are buying British - and why that is a good choice."

The Prince highlighted the pressure facing the country's family farms, including falling commodity prices and rising input costs, and warned that some city-dwellers may be overlooking the crucial part that farmers play in the UK.

"The rural economy is largely invisible to many people," he said. "So, it is perhaps worth spelling out, especially to those who - whether by choice or necessity - live largely urban lifestyles that we rely on farmers to make a huge contribution to our nation's food security, environment and prosperity.

"And in all three respects, we live in an increasingly uncertain world. That is why we need to do everything we can to keep our farmers farming."

He finished his message with a word of warning: "This may be considered merely romantic but, to me, our living, breathing, working countryside is one of the great glories of this country. I think we should treasure it, including its people, while we still can."

The Prince has a powerful message - that we can all make a difference.

By buying British food, we will all be playing a vital role in safeguarding the future of our precious countryside and everyone who works and lives in rural communities.

In 2010, Charles established his Countryside Fund and this year helped to create the new ‘Innova-tive Farmers’ network.

The not-for-profit network is part of the Duchy Future Farming Programme, funded by the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation and partners include The Soil Association, Organic Research Cen-tre, Waitrose, LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and Innovation in Agriculture, to ensure the network represents farmers and growers across the industry.

We also welcome this launch, putting growers firmly in the driving seat of horticultural research.