There is No Silver Bullet

There is No Silver Bullet

by Josiah Meldrum

This evening, along with Henry our chickpea grower, we’ll be featured on BBC Countryfile. It’s a harvest episode and the section we’re in sees Adam reflecting on a poor oil seed rape (OSR) harvest then traveling out to find alternatives.⁣

Who knows quite how it’ll come out in the edit, but our aim was to explain that there is no alternative. No single crop that can be dropped into a rotation to solve the problems that come with a reductive, commodity focused system of supply. ⁣

Those single crop solutions (OSR was one 40 odd years ago) will always end up being a race to the bottom – for that reason they come at a cost to the environment, our health and farm/rural economics. The only other way a farmer can exert any influence over price in a commodity market is through the pursuit of higher yields with greater simplification and specialization – that too has come at a huge cost. ⁣

Instead of looking for a new wonder crop or variety, or quick fixes that reduce cost and/or increase yield but have little real impact on the way crops are grown, traded or consumed we need to step back and look at the whole system.⁣

Farmers are well aware of all this. Ongoing trade negotiations, progress of the agriculture bill through parliament and the climate crisis only serve to further focus their minds. Many are already working on the kind of diverse, whole farm system approaches that will allow them to run profitable businesses growing high quality food with as little environmental impact as possible (and always improving on what has gone before).⁣

The challenge that really crystalized for us 12 years ago is that most farmers don’t have a supportive route to market for their crops – especially not the broad acre combinable crops (things like beans, wheat, barley) which are always going to be grown in quantities almost impossible to sell at the farm gate.⁣

That’s what Hodmedod is all about. Creating a supportive, transparent network of supply that enables and catalyses food system change. ⁣

You can’t ‘vote with your wallet’ – you can only vote with your vote (do that please!), but you can make informed, positive choices when you buy what you need.



Josiah Meldrum
Josiah Meldrum

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