Coronavirus: Welsh growers urge public to buy direct

Farmers and growers in Wales say the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed 'supermarket flaws'
Farmers and growers in Wales say the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed 'supermarket flaws'

Welsh growers say now is the time for shoppers to buy food direct from suppliers as the coronavirus pandemic exposes supermarket 'supply chain flaws'.

While shelves at some major retailers are stripped bare of eggs, meat and milk, produce is still in plentiful supply at farm shops, growers, raw milk suppliers and other local food businesses.

Gerald Miles, who runs Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture (COCA) from his farm at St Davids, is urging Welsh shoppers to grasp the opportunity to stock their cupboards with locally produced food.

He hopes the current crisis will change buying habits and result in long-term support from consumers to local businesses, not only at times when they can’t get key items at a supermarket.

“What the country is experiencing now really gives us a reality check on who we should be depending on for food and produce," said Mr Miles.

Although early spring is the ‘hungry gap’ at Caerhys, so-called because the variety of food grown on the farm is limited, COCA is overcoming this through its link with other community-based organisations.

These deliver other kinds of organic vegetables and fruit and products like flour to the farm so members still get a plentiful supply of food.

Mr Miles said COCA had 60 members before the pandemic but in the last fortnight more people had joined.

He said it is now more important than ever for people to understand where their food really comes from - not from the supermarket but from farmers and growers.

“With everything closed down and movements restricted, we need to learn from this experience. We should really value the Welsh countryside and what we can grow here," he said.

COCA is now considering options for drop-off points for delivering its produce, instead of members coming to the farm for their supplies.