Tom Keighley

Member Article

National Trust puts public in charge of farm

The National Trust has revealed the results of its innovative experiment which put over 10,000 members of the public in charge of a working 1,200 acre farm.

MyFarm was an online experiment allowing people to vote on decisions to be taken at the Wimpole Estate farm near Royston in Cambridgeshire.

The project aimed to educate people in farming, and where their food comes from, while maintaining a profitable farm that adhered to the highest standard of sustainability and welfare.

According to the National Trust, it was intended to “lift the lid on the realities of 21st Century farming.”

Results showed that many were misinformed on seasonal produce, although the project appeared to be instrumental in educating people.

93% of respondents in the wider MyFarm community showed they did not know the best time of year to enjoy eating British lamb, as only 7% of respondents correctly identified autumn as the right time to serve lamb.

Of the participants in the scheme, 19% knew the best time of year to enjoy lamb, which suggests the project was making useful progress.

Richard Morris, the National Trust’s Farm Manager at Wimpole, said: “Eating lamb when it’s in season ensures consumers can enjoy the meat at its best.

“Lambs born in spring feed outside on grass throughout the summer resulting in really flavoursome and tender meat.

“The lamb we see on our supermarket shelves in the spring is either shipped in from abroad, or has been barn-reared out of season without the benefit of maturing and developing naturally on grass.”

The results also revealed that only 40% of Britons buy British lamb, whereas 21% buy New Zealand lamb, and 16% indiscriminately seeking whatever is on the supermarket shelves.

Mr Morris added: “The National Trust is the country’s biggest farmer, more than 80% of the 250,000 hectares of land under our care is farmed in some way and we see it as our role to re-connect people with farming and to encourage them to care more about where their food comes from.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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