PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT with food production has soared during lockdown, sparking a buy-local revolution, with more people going direct to the likes of farm shops and independent retailers to source their produce.

With the hospitality sector temporarily closed, families are getting more hands-on in the kitchen, which has prompted a nationwide interest in where our food comes from.

One individual who is passionate about building on these discussions and providing the facts and hard science behind our food, is Wallace Currie, from the Isle of Arran, who posts daily on Facebook platform Rural2Kitchen, doing just that.

Not only does Wallace have the farming background and the passion for sharing stories on ‘farm to fork’, he has also spent many years studying within the field, which has given him a solid basis to give informative and digestible facts on farming to the public.

The SF caught up with Wallace three months in to launching his new site to find out what inspired his mission to engage.

“Food waste figures scared me! From harvest through to our dinner plates, there is so much food out there that people buy which is unnecessarily wasted and I wanted to show the public you can still use it in soups for example, and to learn to rely on their senses instead of always the supermarket label,” Wallace explained.

At first Rural2Kitchen was about getting to know your kitchen larder but has quickly steam rolled into a discussion platform covering everything from new farming innovations, to carbon sequestration to animal welfare in livestock production.

The Scottish Farmer:

Wallace shares posts of produce grown on the farm and enocurages his followers to get busy growing their own - offering advice and tips on how to get started (Chuckle berry bush)

Posting daily photos of life on the farm, from fresh produce grown in his polytunnel to goings-on in the lambing pens, Wallace noticed his posts were creating quite a stir.

“I first started posting farming updates during lambing season and noticed some of my videos and posts were reaching a few thousand people and it became clear that there is a real appetite for British farming and I feel we have a duty to share the facts on what we do.

“Through Rural2Kitchen, I want to give farmers a voice, a platform to deliver facts and put an end to some of the misdirected criticism which has exploded in the last two years and the engagement I’ve had so far shows that the public are keen and willing to be more involved in what goes on behind our farming doors.”

Growing up on Arran in the village of Shiskine, Wallace’s family run a beef and sheep farm running to just shy of 2000 acres, looking after around 630 breeding ewes including Blackies, Mules, Texels and most recently adding Lleyns to the operation.

The Scottish Farmer:

Bridge Farm in Shiskine is home to over 630 breeding ewes and it was during this year’s lambing that online discussion platform Rural2Kitchen was born

Wallace spent a lot of time on the farm as a kid but admitted he had no interest in taking it on himself, mostly joining in at lambing and clipping time to lend a hand. He knew he wanted to work within agriculture but felt the education route was more where his passions lay and went on to study for four years in Agriculture at SRUC’ Riverside Campus in Ayr, before heading on to Glasgow University to complete a further Masters year studying food security.

It was during his Masters year where Wallace became particularly engaged with the environmental impact of food production and this has sparked many of the conversations on his social media platform.

“When we lost the abattoir on Arran, I remember thinking how far the product was going to travel to get into the food chain. The 106-mile single trip shocked me, we import from Brazil, some 6000 miles away. If we, as a country could support local, be that local shops, British supporting supermarkets or at the farm gate and buy solely British our carbon footprint would plummet.

The Scottish Farmer:

Wallace posts reguarly about supporting local food and delves into discussions around the carbon footprint of many of the foods we import

"Our animals, especially in Scotland are fed on pasture-based systems with high carbon sequestration potential. The only trend that the UK animal system needs to curb is the import of animal feeds to assist with wintertime nutrition, maybe that’s why we need GMO, but that can of worms can stay shut for now.”

Wallace isn’t one for confrontation on Rural2Kitchen, but instead believes in creating an inclusive space for everyone to share their views and ask questions around food production. Some of the topics he touches on evokes emotional responses and he makes no point in hiding some of the harsher truths around farming but equally ensures the public knows the difference between farming practices in the UK and those which take place in countries where welfare and standards aren’t regulated.

“One of the biggest problems facing farmers is perceptions,” he continued. “Veganism is a growing trend and it is spouting legs because farmers don’t put opinions out there and when they do, they can often look angry and don’t defend theircraft well. I don’t get emotional or defensive in my posts and stick to science and facts –  a recent post which stirred a lot of interest was on the differences between rose and white veal production, where one person who strongly disagreed with the practice messaged me privately thanking me for talking objectively and responding calmly to the topic.”

Wallace believes that farmers would connect much better with consumers if they were to embrace those difficult but necessary discussions more openly.

“During my Masters, I covered a unit in animal ethics which was full of activist vegans and by the end of the term and following balanced discussions, one of them converted to vegetarianism. I’m not telling people they are wrong for their choices, there are typically three reasons why people chose veganism – health reasons, animal welfare and for the environment – the latter is the only one I’ll try to change people’s minds on,” he said. 

Wallace is extremely grateful to the experiences he gained and lecturers he met through his studies – which he cites as a huge part of his inspiration for Rural2Kitchen – and urges any aspiring students to seriously consider pursuing an education in agriculture and to get in touch if there are any questions he can help with.

The Scottish Farmer:

Inside the polytunnel where Wallace’s Asparagus spears were grown and entered into the SRUC Virtual Show, where he won second in the veg section

In the last month, Rural2Kitchen reached an audience of over 28,000 and Wallace hopes it is only going to keep growing, with new followers joining the discussions every day. 
“People really like the videos I post, particularly cooking content with food we have gown here on the farm, but I’m finding that food security discussions, particularly due to the recent pandemic, are getting a lot of engagement.

As a lasting message and one which he hopes the public will be more receptive to, due to the recent times, he urged: “Take your time in the aisles and source from the British Isles.”

For Wallace, it is still early days for his new site, but for one man on the west coast he is sparking important discussions both here in Scotland and worldwide. 

The next step is to look to monetise his new platform and look at how he can build on a career in education, but mostly he is determined to keep sharing facts and insights in to British farming and keep public engagement on food production on the menu.

To find out more about Rural2Kitchen visit