CONNECTING growers and workers, a new service launched today to help this year’s harvest.
The Land Army initiative has been created by UK-based company, Home Grown to bring farms and workers together in real-time.
The initiative uses existing technology, so that farms and workers can put themselves on a map and see where local opportunities are.
It is hoped this method will take out the need for lengthy recruitment processes, leaving the farms to recruit at the speed required.
Already on the map is Heathlands Farm, Wokingham who are looking for fruit pickers to start in May.
The initiative aims to reignite the pleasure of field to fork home-grown produce, and ensure that local production is understood.
It comes as the British Growers Association estimated the UK needs 70,000 seasonal workers this year to help with the harvest.
And Government and industry figures show that each year, over 60,000 of these seasonal labourers come to the UK from other parts of the world.
Without enough workers, it will not be possible to get the food out of the ground, and into our supply chain — potentially resulting in food shortages.
Edwina Mullins, vice-chair for #ClubHectare, an online rural network supporting the Home Grown initiative, said: “Helping our domestic sustainability is crucial. We have many people in the country out of work, especially in the hospitality, construction and retail industries.
“At the same time, we have farms desperate for workers. There is a need to build community relationships to create a thriving home marketplace for British farming and British workers.
“In these disruptive times, we all need new ways of thinking and dynamic engagement and I love the passion of this project to keep food on our plates during this difficult time.”
James Patrick, head of service delivery at Home Grown, siad: “Home Grown is a starting point. A place where we can reach out beyond political divides and break through the noise of headlines to have real conversations about our countryside, our food supply, and our economy, and how it is all kept secure.
“We are connecting production and produce to the community in new sustainable ways. Elevating farms, farmers, and the community, and helping both to work as one unit – a land army — to feed the nation.”
For more information, or to join the Land Army, visit: homegrown.earth/land-army/