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The Health of our Nation

We are all facing this coronavirus challenge in our own ways and hopefully will emerge fit and strong, ready to tackle our tasks when it is over: from the joys of reuniting with friends and family to the more daunting mission of rebooting our work schedules and finances …but it is our health that I wish to expand on today….

Having just seen our PM on the news (whatever our politics) thankfully recuperating from this very nasty virus and thanking many of the hospital staff, three thoughts struck me – as I am sure it did many of you.

  1. Such a significant number of staff we are so indebted to have settled here from other countries.

  2. Whatever they are paid it is not sufficient…and that goes for carers too who provide an incredible service.

  3. Whilst we need to invest more in our health service and forever appreciate its value, we too must invest in our health and do our bit to stay out of the health service so it is there when we need it….

…and that’s where food comes in…

So many of the illnesses that land us under medical care are diet related. It is not only that we must eat a healthy diet and exercise, who decides what that 'healthy' is? Not that Eatwell Guide I hope or we’re stuffed. We also need easy access to that healthy food. Healthy for us and healthy for our planet. We need more locally produced food from smaller scale producers with less chemical intervention from fungicides and antibiotics, hormones and insecticides. We need more wholefoods and less ultra –processed.

When there are world food shortages we are on our own. Food security is vital. I think – and hope – we shall emerge in a different world and hopefully a better one. ‘Better’ is another arguable measure like ‘healthy.’ Surely the images we see of reduced pollution must leave an indelible mark on our souls?

After years of laying the blame at the door of all animal farmers – and to be fair there are industrial scale farms I abhor – there are still ruminants on farms today, arguably more than usual as many cannot make it to an abattoir during #lockdown, yet suddenly city panoramas include mountain ranges that previously were absent due to smog, we hear birdsong in city parks, small mammals out and about, even inquisitive deer and goats wandering down deserted streets! The skies are quiet and the air indisputably cleaner. Don’t get me wrong, we are looking forward to seeing family in Berlin and Sweden again and shall definitely be travelling but we must consider our transport needs and methods, the meetings where zoom would do the trick and the unnecessary trips we all make at times. Food miles is a massive issue and ironically we have the land, sea and skills right here to amply feed our nation.

What we do need is Government support in infrastructure of public transport, a fair price for food and not world trade unfair competition, and to remember our famers were there for us in our hours of need and value them.

Stay safe and well folks. Until next time…

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