Food should be more expensive to make people value it more, a leading TV presenter has said in an interview this morning.
Kate Humble, who is currently hosting the BBC series Springwatch, and who runs courses on animal husbandry and rural skills from her home, a farm in Monmouth, east Wales, has spoken out in The Guardian about the steady decline in the number of council-owned farms, of which there were once 16,000 around the UK, but today only about 4,000 remain.
The power of the supermarkets, which buy milk from farmers at a price which makes it difficult from them to make a profit from it, so that they can then sell it for £1 for four pints, is a subject about which Humble speaks very strongly.
She says people are happy to buy for such a low price "because we're so disconnected from the land and farming process".
But because many family farms have now disappeared, Humble also worries that it is becoming more difficult even for people who want to go into the job to find suitable land.
"It's nigh on impossible to get into farming now, even if you wanted to," she said.
Through running her own farm with her husband, she has come to appreciate the hard work it involves – much of which is, again, unappreciated by consumers.
"People see footage, like last year, of lambs being buried in the snow but then they'll complain about paying more for lamb", she said.
Her farm uses a solar panel installation to provide much of its power, but is also using a novel form of using the waste products from shoals of fish kept on her farm to provide materials which help nourish the fruit and vegetables which are grown there.
The nitrate-rich water in which the fish live is regularly recycled on the soil in which these crops are grown, which, in turn boosts the crops' growth – and so large amounts of fresh water are saved, Humble tells the newspaper.
She says this is part of a system known as aquaculture, which in German trials has been shown to increase fish and fruit production, and in turn, she believes this could greatly reduce the need for food banks, as well as cutting the amount of energy used in the production of these raw materials.