Coronavirus champions: St Albans hospitality staff offer to help local farmers harvest crops

St Albans' pub and restaurant staff are offering to help pick local crops.

St Albans' pub and restaurant staff are offering to help pick local crops. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Hertfordshire farmers, we are here and we are keen to do what we can to help!”

That’s the rallying cry from chefs, bar staff and other hospitality industry workers who are offering to roll up their sleeves and harvest local crops.

The St Albans Independent Hospitality and Retail Association is mobilising staff who are currently unable to work due to the coronavirus lockdown, but are keen to do their bit to ensure that local farmers get the help they need to harvest their crops for the season and keep our food supply chains operating.

Association representatives Sean Hughes and Mandy McNeil have reached out to the National Farmers Union to offer support.

Mandy 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.

Sean 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.”

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Hertfordshire farmers in need of help should contact Save St Albans Pubs on Facebook @savestapubs.