Think of an advert for milk. Any one that springs to mind.
Thought of one? Great. Does it have cows in it?
I have fond memories of milk adverts that featured not cows, but cheeky red and white straws. They made me giggle as they sneakily pinched milk. Wikipedia helped remind me they were Humphreys ("watch out!", that's showing my age.....!). The ads didn't show where milk came from, but I still knew - everyone knew.
But it seems that things have changed. According to a recent study by LEAF 41% of young adults don't know that milk comes from cows. 7% linked milk with wheat. A third don't know eggs come from hens.
These findings add to evidence that our society is becoming increasingly disconnected from our natural environment. A lack of connection leads to a lack of care and understanding, which easily leads to loss. We need a healthy natural environment for the long term wellbeing of our society - and a healthy natural environment includes, and relies on, a healthy sustainable farming industry. So we need people to know where their food comes from - and we need them to value great UK farmers.
The RSPB works hard to show the importance of farming; e.g. great farmers are regularly featured in Birds, our magazine for members, and our press releases. We recognise and celebrate them as part of the RSPB Telegraph Nature of Farming Award. Education is one of the factors we take into account when judging this award, and we open up the final stage of the competition to a public vote in order to spread the message wider. (Watch this space to find out the latest news on the 2012 competition, and how to cast your vote when the finalists are announced in July.)
Many farmers help combat this lack of knowledge by inviting people on to their farms for educational visits throughout the year, and take part in Open Farm Sunday. Some have taken a step further and converted old barns or outbuildings into education centres. It's time consuming and can be costly, but they do it because they recognise how important it is. A huge pat on the back to every one of you.
The EU LIFE+ Programme funds RSPB work which supports wildlife-friendly farming that furthers sustainable development in the European Union.
How I wish farmers got to see your blog Heather,it would be a great P R job for RSPB to get it into Farmers Weekly and Farmers Guardian.Although lots of farmers are doing lots for wildlife I feel sure there are also a lot who consider the RSPB dislike them and see them almost as the enemy,your blog would do a lot to alter their opinion.
Thanks Sooty - we appreciate you helping to spread that word..... :o)