American poet and farmer Gary Snyder writes of the interconnectedness and interdependence of the food chain. He says, “To acknowledge that each of us at the table will eventually be part of the meal is not just being ‘realistic.’ It is allowing the sacred to enter and accepting the sacramental aspect of our shaky temporary personal being.” In this episode, we explore the ways in which a growing consciousness is developing around food, based on ideas of reverence, and gratitude.
How have the people who care for the animals that feed us – both in life and in death – changed during this time of crisis? How has the way they understand the future of food been altered by the pandemic, and their own responses to it? How do they see their own place in that future? Who Feeds Us? is a celebration of these key workers, a thank you and a call to action – so we don’t forget just how ‘key’ they are.
In this episode, we learn about the different ways those who feed us with fish, cheese and meat coped with the lockdown. First, we cross the Irish Sea to visit Dean Wright, a dairy farmer and cheese-maker at Ballylisk in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, who at the beginning of lock-down pivoted almost overnight to start delivering milk and other artisan products to the local community.
Then, we travel to Wales to meet Muhsen Hassanin, a smallholder and halal slaughterman who provides regenerative halal meat to customers across the UK. From there, we travel north, to hear from John Martin Tulloch, a fishmonger in the Shetland Isles who lost his international market, but found a new customer base much closer to home. Join us as we learn how the pandemic has impacted the work of these three producers, and the relationship they have with the people they serve.
If Who Feeds Us? is a call to return dignity to our food, what does a food system built on dignity look like to you?
This episode was produced by Phil Smith. The executive producers of Who Feeds Us? are Jo Barratt, Abby Rose and Katie Revell. Col Gordon, Zain Dada and Fern Towers worked with us as community collaborators to unearth the stories of John Martin Tulloch, Muhsen Hassanin and Dean Wright.
The project Manager for Who Feeds Us? is Olivia Oldham. Our artwork is by Hannah Grace, and the original music for the series is by Michael O’Neill.Who Feeds Us? is possible thanks to the Farming the Future COVID Response Fund. We’re very grateful to The A Team Foundation, the Roddick Foundation, Thirty Percy and the Samworth Foundation for providing the funds to make this project happen. Many thanks also to Farming the Future Advisor Dee Woods for her guidance in bringing the team together.