To the farmers and growers…

by JP on June 9, 2012

The weekend before last I had the great opportunity to go home and see two of my dearest friends get married. This wedding was somewhat different from the norm as the bride and groom-to-be made the decision to organise everything themselves, from the order of service telling us its unique love story, to the personally handwritten place names, the positioning of the speeches as we all crowded on the stairwell in this magical castle to hear the proud father, best men and the groom, the decorations on the table, the perfectly cooked lamb that was put before us and served with the carefully selected accompanying wine. The ladies tell me there was even flip flops in the bathroom for when tired feet kicked in after all the dancing.

All of this got me thinking about planning and organisational skills because at the end of the day that’s what it came down to. Leading up to the event a huge number of people all needed to come together at different times and different stages to make it all work but to make it a success you always need people pulling the strings, the team leaders! The now newlyweds knew what they wanted, they had a vision, a vision of how they wanted their wedding to be. Quite simply, they made their vision of a beautiful wedding in an idyllic castle in Ireland, surrounded by their friends and family, come to life.

His love of food mixed with her experience of running a delicatessen meant they could jointly design the menu, source local and in season food, and carefully chose who was going to prepare the feast. As a team they were able to make those decisions but with everything like that you do need some help, some support. So friends and family members were always nearby and ready to help, an aunty doing the washing up, a best man herding everyone in for photos, a friend decorating the tables and a bridesmaid creating the hand held bouquet.

During the ceremony I saw a small red Massey Ferguson tractor go by, the farmer was out turning hay on what had to be one of the hottest days this year in Ireland. It got me thinking how farming doesn’t stop for any occasion. Weddings, funerals, births, christenings, even Christmas, somebody still has to go out and milk the cows, get up and feed the cattle, harvest and spray the crops. Which makes me think farming definitely needs some people with ideas and visions, planners and operators, but it also needs the family members to roll in at different times of the season to make it all culminate together and help to provide a support system. It has similarities to a wedding in the sense of everybody on the farm is pulling together towards the end result.

I had the honour of being Master of Ceremonies at this wedding. With this role it fell upon me to say grace before we ate. I wanted to reflect the day, the happy couple and make people think about all those that are involved in contributing towards the meal we were about to eat. I felt that the following summed up exactly what I was trying to say.

To the farmers and growers
To the butchers and bakers
To the cooks and the caterers
We give thanks for this meal

For me these words emphasised that for us all to have fantastic food on our table, all year round, it all comes back down to the planners, and those with the vision and ideas within farming, agriculture and food, but equally we should praise the support network that they surround themselves with to complete and compliment the team. These teams are the people that consistently ensure we have good quality food on our table, they are the ones out doing their jobs no matter what time of day, whilst we rub our feet and ask where the flip flops are!

Congratulations to Sarah and Ollie.

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