Herts County Show: 4 ways you can support sustainable agriculture and why it’s important
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Sustainability is the only option for our planet’s future – but are you doing your bit to help protect the environment?
With the climate crisis on everyone's minds, what can we do to create a safer, healthier world to ensure better days ahead?
“Every household can make a difference,” says Will Dickinson, society chairman of the Herts County Show. “From what we eat to where we shop, it’s about making smarter and better decisions for your health and the planet. Stocking your cupboards with locally-sourced, British produce will help the country become more self-sufficient and less reliant on foreign imports for food.”
Agriculture is at the heart of the show, which will be taking place on May 28 and 29, 2022, and is organised by the Hertfordshire Agriculture Society. The charity promotes local farming, supports the environment and aims to educate the community about the best agricultural practices.
The show is also proudly associated with Rothamsted Research, a non-profit organisation that develops agricultural science strategies, encouraging more sustainable farming and a greener planet.
“Our actions not only showcase what we do - but show how to do it,” Will says. He talks us through four key steps to becoming more sustainable and what you can learn from this year’s County Show.
1. Support local farm shops and producers
As consumers, there is so much we can do to help create a greener future. One of the easiest ways to do this is by sourcing our food through local suppliers – and there’s plenty on offer in Hertfordshire. “The East Anglia region supplies around 25 to 30 per cent of the nation’s arable food and 40 per cent of the nation’s pig’s herd,” Will tells us.
A host of local independent food and drink producers will be selling their goods at Herts County Show, including Dawlicious Ice Cream and Foxholes Farm Shop. Both these family-run businesses also offer ‘gate sales’, which is an opportunity for consumers, restaurants and caterers to buy produce directly from the farmers themselves. “Not only is the produce far fresher and often higher quality than what you'd get from a supermarket, but the food production has a much lower carbon footprint and is more sustainable,” Will says.
“Hertfordshire has been long-associated with the production of arable crops, particularly with barley for brewing, as shown by McMullens and Farr Brew – both proud, sustainable, local companies who will be at this year’s show,” he adds.
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2. Learn about livestock and fresh produce at the Hertfordshire Farmyard
There will be plenty of animals and demonstrations on show for you and the family to enjoy at this year’s event, including pig racing, which will be making a comeback due to high demand. “The display of both modern and traditional livestock will be a large part of the show, helping to educate people on sustainable farming practices,” Will explains.
You’ll be able to check out Rothamsted Research at the show, and they’ll be able to tell you all about their space age technology and how they’re utilising it to create a safer future for the environment.
“There will also be an opportunity to make your own ‘Hertfordshire Lunch’, where visitors of all ages can learn about the importance of shopping local, whilst making your own meal with some of the region’s best produce.
“You’ll begin by grinding your own flour, making your own flatbread before adding the toppings and throwing it in the oven, ready for you to eat and enjoy on the day,” he says.
3. Recycle responsibly
Research has shown compost to be a useful source of fertiliser for crops, and across Hertfordshire, several plants have been established to put this into place.
However, this method requires a commitment and effort from the community for it to be effective. “Plastic contamination is a growing issue with composting and renewable nutrient sources,” Will says.
“Consumers play a critical part in ensuring both green (recycling) and food waste does not have plastic in it when it is thrown away. A cucumber cannot be used as a form of crop nutrition if it is still in its plastic packaging from the shop shelf, for example.”
4. Be mindful of what you eat
Will explains how you can help to save water and reduce deforestation by incorporating more plant-based recipes and locally-sourced produce into your daily diet.
“So much of our food goes to waste at the end of each week,” he says. “So instead of letting food go out of date and throwing it away, try freezing things you’re not using like bread, rice, and fruit and vegetables, so you can cook it later.”
By switching to seasonal produce that’s grown within the country at that time of year, you can help to reduce imports from distant countries which causes high air mileage and more CO2 through transportation. Will notes that this is also a more affordable method of purchasing fresh produce, as you’re not paying for it to be imported over the border.
The Herts County Show is on May 28 and 29, 2022. The event will have an array of fresh produce, livestock shows and demonstrations to educate and entertain people of all ages and interests.
To buy tickets for the show, visit hertsshow.yourticketbooking.com/.
For more information on the event and the sustainable produce on offer, visit hertsshow.com/whats-on/eat-and-drink-local/.