Monday 8th March is International Women's Day. At the farm, we're celebrating all the wonderful women who work hard to put the finest food on our plates.
There is no doubt we work in a male-dominated industry. When you think of farming and butchery you don't instantly picture a woman carrying out the work. We want to shake that old-fashioned image up and change the perception of women in the food industry.
Here at Pipers Farm we're disrupting the industry and are incredibly proud to have an abundance of incredible women driving our business forward, in fact, almost every department is headed by a talented woman. From female butchers, farmers, production managers and company directors, we're lucky to have a brilliant group of like-minded, skilled individuals who are shaping the future of our business.
As many of you know, we work with around 30 small-scale farmers who rear ethical and sustainable food to our guidelines. Family farming requires the whole unit to muck in - literally. On our farms you'll often see three generations working the land, passing down knowledge generation to generation.
We are lucky enough to have so many incredibly inspiring female farmers as part of the Pipers Farm family, who are not only at the forefront of the work on their farms, but in addition are providing an important backbone to family life.
"It's not an easy job, we're fighting against a daily grind of misinformation, at a time when farmers are taking a real bashing through sensationalist clickbait scandals in the media. My role at Pipers Farm is to share our story and the stories of all the people we work with, honestly and with integrity, and if that results changing one persons eating habits, moving them away from factory farming, well, I've done my job properly!" says Abby Allen, Director of Pipers Farm.
Abby goes on to explain "I'm inspired by so many of the women I have met through Pipers Farm. From my amazing team mates, who are talented beyond belief, to the many great female chefs who have taken the reigns in the kitchen, changing the traditional male orientated dynamic and bringing fresh innovative ideas.
Working in a traditionally male dominated sector hasn't always been easy. For example, walking into a kitchen and explaining to chefs how to utilise a carcass or working with farmers to explain the Pipers Farm recipe for great produce. I'm sure when people meet me they wouldn't necessarily think that I have a passion for butchery and farming, and that has often raised a few eyebrows!
However thanks to the incredibly nurturing support I have received throughout my career I have always been encouraged to put the work in, enabling me to hold my own.
Times are changing and thankfully, it's no longer an uncommon sight to see a woman in a role of responsibility working in this industry."
Luckily there is no shortage of female talent in food, we're proud to see so many of our peers take the stage and set such an incredible example for the next generation of women in food.
The work of writers, Joanna Blythman and Lizzie Rivera, fighting for the rights of small scale artisan producers.
Campaigner and broadcaster, Abby Rose who uses her voice to amplify those of small-scale producers fighting for a more sustainable food system.
Producer, Polly Hilton, founder of Find & Foster cider, who's knowledge of cider making blows our minds and our tastebuds!
Cheesemaker, Julie Cheyney, who makes some of the most delicious cheese in the country, St Jude and St Cera.
Similarly, Rose Grimond of Nettlebed Creamery who was instrumental in turning her family farm into the award-winning cheesemakers we know and love today, making one of our very favourite cheeses, Bix.
Lastly we couldn't finish this article without giving a huge shout out to one of our very own inspirational women; Henri Greig. Cofounder of Pipers Farm. Henri has created a legacy for all of us to take on to the next stage, that is testament to her uncompromising vision of how food should be produced.
Today Henri also shares her wealth of experience with the FFCC (Food, Farming and Countryside Commission). She is at the forefront of making real change to the agricultural community, working on how we transition our industry to a sustainable agroecological model in the next 10 years.
This International Women's Day we are saluting all those who use their voices and their actions to make positive change.