Welcome to InBrief
Back in November we sponsored the National Fruit Show Speaker Programme and over two days there were a range of industry experts and fruit growers talking about the challenges, opportunities, innovation and ambitions for the industry. Celebrating its 90th year, the role of the show is still important to provide an opportunity for the industry to gather and to showcase the very best British apples and pears and also soft fruit and nuts.
But the whole British farming and horticulture sector needs support which was the strong message delivered by NFU President Minette Batters (cover pic). We all need to do our bit as consumers to support the sector as best we can and buying local, seasonal produce direct from our farms is one way to help.
On 22 January, following a petition signed by over 100,000 people, Parliament will be debating a motion to Reform the Grocery Supply Code of Practice to better protect farmers which is calling on retailers to: Buy what they agreed to buy, pay what they agreed to pay and to pay on time. All fundamentals of a legal contract which needs to be enforced to enable farmers and growers to invest in their businesses for the future.
As more farms diversify and income streams are now open for wildlife and stewardship schemes and as opportunities arise from BioDiversity Net Gain, we are certainly seeing a significant change to rural life here in Kent. Our team are here to advise and support and will be at a number of rural events this year so do pop by for a chat about how we can help.
Also in November we celebrated Maidstone’s High Street Heroes and this year we had a huge number of nominations for local high street businesses. An opportunity to network at the Gallagher Stadium was enjoyed by all and details of all the winners and runners-up can be found on pages 4 and 5.
As well as looking at changes to the law we are keen to share the story of the Gillingham Street Angels who we met at our High Street Heroes awards and quite frankly, we have been blown away by the size and professionalism of their operations. For a relatively new charity which began in 2018, they are supporting many in our local communities. Through their network of cafés and charity shops they are ploughing funds back into supporting not just the homeless but also the wider community.
If you haven’t visited one of their cafés I would urge you to pop along to sample their delicious, home-cooked meals.
As always if our growing team can be of any help or support this year, please do get in touch.