Chefs and hospitality industry staff in the Hertfordshire cathedral city of St Albans are rolling up their sleeves to offer support to farmers who are in need of workers to harvest their crops.
The St Albans Independent Hospitality and Retail Association has chefs and staff, who are currently unable to work due to the coronavirus lockdown, and are keen to do their bit to ensure that the farmers get the help they need to harvest their crops for the season and keep the food supply chains operating.
Association representatives, Sean Hughes, who runs three pubs in the city, and Mandy McNeil have today reached out to the National Farmers Union to offer support.
McNeil said: “Our community of independent hospitality and retail businesses, including local delis and grocers, have been working really hard over the last few weeks to ensure that our residents have access to food. They have used their own supply chains to offer the local community an alternative to the supermarket giants, with many prioritising the vulnerable and isolated where they can.
Hughes added: “It has really highlighted the value of the St Albans hospitality industry to the community. But with so many restaurants and pubs forced to close, lots of hospitality staff are now keen to help out where ever they can, and right now farmers need help with picking their fruit and vegetable crops. Many of my own staff are keen to work for our local farmers.
“The workers from our hospitality businesses - many of which are award winning – are all experienced in safe food handling, passionate about quality and want to help. They have seen the plight of farmers across the nation, who urgently need vegetable and fruit pickers to ensure that their crops don’t go to waste and that the scarcity of food does not become a reality.
“Farmers, we are here and we are keen to do what we can to help.”
Farmers in need of help, should contact Save St Albans Pubs on Facebook @savestapubs Facebook group if they are in need of people to work.