Connecting the city to the country – urban politicians on farm

An image of Olly Harrison with the Metro Mayor of Liverpool and NFU representatives stood in front of a tractor

The NFU connected the city and the countryside when award-winning North West member Olly Harrison hosted Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram and the leader of Knowsley Council, Graham Morgan, on farm.

The visit was part of efforts to increase the engagement with rural issues from urban politicians – and those in their constituencies.

Olly, the NFU’s North West Community Farming Hero, was a fitting host for a visit about the benefits of better connections between farmers and urban areas. He is the organiser of a Christmas tractor run for Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital which has run for the past two years now and raised around £75,000.

He was nominated for the NFU Community Hero awards by Garston and Halewood Labour MP Maria Eagle and is well-known for his charitable work, having also raised more than £40,000 for NHS charities.

Understanding where food comes from

The need for a better public understanding of where food comes from and the career opportunities within agriculture were prominent topics, along with apprenticeships and the current labour shortages in farming sectors like horticulture.

Young adults were identified as a particularly important audience.

Food security was also a key part of discussions where members highlighted the challenges facing producers and how the issue extends to urban communities.

Building relationships

There were productive conversations about how the NFU can work with the Metro Mayor to continue developing relationships with urban MPs and political figures, to highlight the importance of food production and its contribution to the economy.

The Leader of Knowsley Council also identified new platforms where farmers can showcase the role they play in producing food to increase public awareness of how vital farmers are to local communities.

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