10 minutes with Sarah Hunt - promoting change
PUBLISHED: 16:55 21 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:55 21 January 2014
Sarah Hunt is a well known name throughout our farming community. She is the New Forest Marque Manager and champion for local producers. Here she tells why we should all be getting behind Hampshire Life's campaign with the PCF
Why is it important to be aware of our countryside and producers? In my lifetime most villages had some agricultural involvement that kept people in touch with their surroundings. This is no longer the case and many areas are detached from what we need to live - food and farming. Smallholdings have not only kept farming local but maintain many of the practices of small scale farming, using the animals, land and Forest to maximum effect; keeping it the way we remember.
This year we are partnering with the PCF, tell our readers why they should join the fundraising. If you value local food, local farming and wish to see this continue, PCF and Archant Life recognise the need and the importance of small scale farmers/producers in one of the most difficult periods financially and environmentally.
As someone from a farming family, tell us about the problems you and others face in Hampshire. Farming is a challenge at any time but for small units, overhead increases and weather over the last couple of years have stretched small scale farmers and producers to their last limit. Many work full time to enable them to continue farming/producing, but are forced into completing hours of paperwork or on-line form filling. We have seen many friends give up their animals as the extra workload has proved the final straw this year.
And what can be done to resolve this?
Support and better understanding is the only way to improve the situation. Combinations such as the PCF and Archant Life can bring this to life and help to raise awareness of the rural issues for small owned or tenanted farms.
How can we support our farming community on a local level?
If the farm is lucky enough to produce a product then go out of your way to buy it, or ask for the product in your nearest shop/pub. The public can support local producers by questioning why they can’t buy local.
You are a judge in our Food & Drink Awards, what does it mean to you to be involved?
I just love being part of the whole awards, meeting with new producers, new venues, chefs and products that the public think are good enough to vote for. It really means a lot to someone that they matter and are making a difference!
Tell us the best thing about Hampshire’s countryside.
For me the New Forest in Autumn, wonderful colours, smells and open heathland that I have grown to love.
You have several roles to play throughout Hampshire, which is the most important to you and why?
I don’t see what I do as a role but a way of life that I would like to see continue, I want to make difference and help my local community.