A TRANSFORMATION of our food and agricultural systems could be one of the lasting legacies of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was the sentiment delivered by HRH Prince of Wales as he sent a poignant message to the British public about the way people have responded to lockdown by reinvigorating their love of the land and their interest in food production.

“It goes without saying that no one has been immune from the ghastly effects of this terrible pandemic, but perhaps there are one or two silver linings amongst the otherwise very dark clouds which have been affecting us all over the last few months.

“It does seem one of those is the issue of food. It appears that most of us have given much more thought than has usually been the case to the story behind our food during Covid-19. Food availability was clearly an early issue, perhaps food shortages prompted many people to think for the first time about whether they could depend on secure or reliable supplies of food in a post Covid world.

“In that connection, I was fascinated to hear that sales of vegetable seeds reached an all time high as a dig for victory spirit swept through the land and urban and country dwellers alike, decided to requisition their gardens, allotments and window boxes to grow food in a way perhaps not seen since the second world war," said Prince Charles.

“There is also little doubt that we equally thought more about the quality and taste of our food perhaps suspecting as I’ve always done that the way food is grown is linked not only with its deliciousness but equally with its capacity to keep us healthy which of course so many of us had in the back of our minds.

“In relation to the provenance of our food, I have found it immensely encouraging that apparently millions of us want to know the story behind our food, who grew it, how they grew it, whether they were near to us and if we can depend on them if things get tough again in the future. Telling the story behind our food means understanding the crucial role played by family farmers all over our country, it means recognising the part they play in maintaining essential viability of rural communities, of the landscapes we love and want to visit.

“Given the right incentives and not the wrong ones, the growing interest of consumers in nature friendly farming - that avoids chemical and other pollution, restores soil fertility, emphasises quality over quantity in natives breeds, gives a vital diversity in our agricultural base and reconnects us with the local tradition and cultural aspects of what agriculture should be.

“Our farming systems and our food would be the most healthy, the most environmentally friendly and most sought after around the world. So, with the explosion of interest in local food, box schemes and online sales, could a transformation of our food and agricultural systems be one of the lasting legacies of this very challenging period in human history, I very much hope so,” he concluded.