Carole Bamford is the founder of @daylesfordfarm, @bamford and @seed_magazine
Shifting Our Perspectives on Food: Learnings from the Pandemic by Carole Bamford
“With cleaner air, calmer roads and the return of the birdsong and bolder wildlife, we were all given a glimpse of what a greener world might be like to live in.”
The enormity of an event like this has such a strong capacity to shift our perspective but also our objectivity. From where we sit at the moment our daily circumstances are changing so swiftly that it feels very difficult to imagine what the world will look like when do at last emerge from this crisis. But what pervades is a sense that the world will remain fundamentally unpredictable for a while, and that life feels more fragile than it once did.
That fragility is something that affects our planet more than ever. What this pandemic has exposed are the cracks in our systems. The bare shop shelves and risk of food shortages revealed the precarity of our food supply chain and the need to manage it sustainably. Many had their eyes opened to just some of the injustices in the fashion and textile industries as appalling working conditions for garment workers hit headlines and the widespread effects of our consumption patterns and dependency on fast fashion hit home.
But what lockdown also brought us was solidarity – a sense of community in the fight against a common affliction. Creative solutions emerged to solve problems and the pandemic revealed that when we work together we can implement positive change. We slowed down – we inherently began to return to a more sustainable way of living because we were forced to. People started cooking from scratch. The popularity for baking sourdough bread or cakes, with its sharing of recipes, brought us together. It unlocked a resourcefulness and revealed that we are able a return to a more self-sufficient way of living. What was perhaps most wonderful for me was the rekindling of our affection for and appreciation of nature. A surge in gardening took hold, while city dwellers sought refuge in green spaces and the outdoors. With cleaner air, calmer roads and the return of the birdsong and bolder wildlife, we were all given a glimpse of what a greener world might be like to live in.
I want to cling on to the belief that there is a shifting tide in our attitude to the planet, to the climate crisis it faces and to the way we live our lives. We are at a unique moment because consumers are having to pay attention to what they use and buy, and are reassessing their relationship with consumption. The future I am hopeful for is one in which we continue to build on this: to value the concept of buying less, buying better and finding ways to support the local businesses or small producers who are creating objects, food or clothes in a more sustainable way.
My wish is that neither consumers, companies or governments will allow a return to the world we had before. This crisis has been a wake-up call – we’ve witnessed the dangers of disrupting nature – and my biggest hope is that this is a watershed moment for the planet and for positive change. But we all need to continue to play our part.