Lettuces, melons and snowflakes

Apologies to those who don’t want politics from their greengrocer. I have kept my personal views on this silent for a long time – it now just feels too important.

At our farm in France, we cut our first lettuces this morning, and will plant melons and aubergines after lunch. These vegetables from 250 miles south have become a critical part of your boxes, providing variety through the UK’s ‘hungry gap’ with minimal road miles and environmental impact.

We had planned to take a break next week while the post-Brexit shambles was resolved; with this now pushed back two weeks, by which time lettuces would be stacking up in the fields, we couldn’t have planned things worse. It is frustrating to see so many of our politicians stuck in a one-way tunnel with no light at the end.

Riverford’s farm in the Vendee in France is at the start of its lettuce season

After my initial dismay almost three years ago, and a little anger at the lies told about the utopia awaiting us outside the EU, I came to accept Brexit – occasionally even looking forward to post-Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) farming. Contrary to many claims, I think most Remainers eventually accepted the result with good grace and humility.

Utopia is Greek for ‘nowhere’. There have been many noble attempts at utopian societies; most have been short-lived, and all have fallen short of their founders’ ideals. In the last year, public opinion on Brexit has shifted, as it became apparent that the vote was between a precise ‘stay’ on one side, and a range of beguiling but often unachievable or incompatible versions of utopia on the other. Polls now consistently show more people wanting to stay than to leave. It was David Davis, the Brexit bulldog, who said in 2012: “If democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

It’s time for so-called remoaning snowflakes to make their voices heard; to demand respect for their arguments in favour of something known, alongside the demands to respect a shrinking vote for Leave and its multitude of utopian nowheres.

Sign the petition here, write to your MP, and if you’re a Leave voter who has changed your mind – there’s no shame in that, but you owe it to your country to shout about it louder than anyone else. Apologies to those who don’t want politics from their greengrocer. I have kept my personal views on this silent for a long time – it now just feels too important.


Leave a Reply

  1. It is too important, if you are an organic farmer you are political! I’m not sure I can claim that I have accepted brexit with good grace, more resigned pessimism and despair at how this government is behaving. Just have to keep signing petitions, talking and hoping.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree.
    I don’t understand why the PM can ask the same question several times in Parliament, until she gets the answer she wants, but allowing a people’s vote apparently is undemocratic..

  3. I feel that Revoking Article 50 is the best option even for those who voted Leave as it gives us all time to re-evaluate facts, values and strategies. And yes to politics please! They cannot be separated from environmental choices, for instance, and we need more opportunities for wider discussions!.

  4. And would you feel the same had the first vote gone the other way? That there should be a re-vote to allow the other side another chance? What’s the point of a democracy where we ignore the result?

  5. I disagree

    I’m a relatively new customer, 3 boxes in 3 weeks, extremely happy with the produce but really don’t appreciate being lectured to about brexit first thing on a Wednesday morning and am debating whether to continue ordering from Riverford or find an alternative.

    And if you are going to use your position as a provider of produce to push your political opinions, at least try to offer a balanced account, have you considered the long term implications of not delivering brexit? can you imagine what would happen if there were a general election in the next month or two? and if there were a general election or any election for that matter, why should we ever take the results seriously again?

    At this point leavers feel like they’re not represented by either the Conservatives or Labour, do you really think all those voices will just evaporate? or do you think it’s far more likely they’ll find an alternative political home? then try and imagine what that could do to the shape of politics over the next decade or so.

    And for reference, I have a law degree and my own business, so don’t fit any of the “leavers are just stupid”, “leavers didn’t know what they voted for” lazy stereotypes.

  6. Hello Chris, thanks for engaging with the article. As Guy states in his newsletter these are his own personal opinions about Brexit, borne out of his experience dealing with the challenges Brexit has presented. There is a very diverse range of opinion on this issue as it is a defining moment in history and will shape all our futures. As such, there is definitely a demand for more truthful debate around the reality of what impact this is having on all areas of our lives (including how our food is grown, sourced and transported) and how we can find a way forward. Wicked leeks is a separate platform to the Riverford website – its great to hear you are enjoying the deliveries, and if you ever need any assistance or have feedback for customer services you can contact them on the farm at help@riverford.co.uk

    1. Personally I’m very pleased to read Guy’s honest opinions. From where I sit in the South Pacific the whole Brexit idea seems to be such a huge mistake. I feel for the generations to come as their needs do not seem to be considered at all with Brexit.

  7. Guy, I had to register for the first time so that I could comment on this – THANK YOU for saying what so many of us feel, and thank you for using your veg box news letter to promote the A50 petition. Good to hear a businessman coming out in favour! (and I love my veg boxes, too, by the way!)

  8. First of all – “Wicked leeks is a separate platform to the Riverford website” – that’s irrelevant, the piece above by Guy was included in the box leaflet this week, so every customer got a copy whether they are interested in his views or not.

    People are entitled to their views, and I don’t go around asking every business I use what their views are on Brexit. But Guy’s piece is not, as Comments Editor claims in a pointless and inaccurate bit of half-apology waffle, a “truthful debate around the reality of what impact this is having on all areas of our lives”, it’s just a bit of Remainer propaganda. WIth a side order of hypocrisy thrown in – one minute he’s saying “I think most Remainers eventually accepted the result with good grace and humility” (which isn’t even close to being true), but in the next breath demanding “respect for their arguments” and campaigning for Brexit be cancelled altogether.

    I suppose it’s no surprise that an organic veg grower is (by his own admission) a snowflake remainer with the luxury of a bit of right-on politics, as, I imagine, are most of his customers. I don’t count myself in either of those categories, which leaves something of a bitter taste when I’m actually paying for a product which endorses a political point of view completely anathema to my own.

    And this week’s tomatoes were very average.

    1. Hello martsharm, thanks for your contribution. Wicked leeks is a forum for debate, news, views and insight into sustainable food and ethical business. We hope the discussions, articles and opinion pieces will help to foster creative solutions to those issues The magazine is powered by Riverford, the organic veg box company founded by Guy Singh-Watson, who has always been outspoken on issues such as climate change, pesticide use, soil health and ecological farming. His views have shaped Riverford today, but they are no longer the niche rantings of an organic revolutionary. As such, Wicked Leeks is home to a range of voices and opinion writers, and reflect the huge interest in the impact our food and other habits have on the planet.

  9. Is it possible to have my veg box without your biased political comments. I would like to opt out of this propaganda leaf drop in my box. I am also in business and have been preparing for a no deal as have many other businesses. I have been looking forward to importing direct fro countries outside of the EU. My son is a research professor, and has long been annoyed at research papers going to Germany before they are published, thereby giving the Germans access to all our research. In our business we have been using recycled plastics for which we applied for a patent. Guess which country decided on that! We were refused, but I don’t doubt we will see this used in our competitors products from Germany. I get that your business is with EU countries but you really don’t know the half of it. As for we didn’t know what we were voting for. How dare you be so arrogant. We not only knew but are even more determined to leave.

    1. Hello Henrietta, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the article – its good to hear the experience of people in different business sectors, As Guy states in his newsletter these are his own personal opinions about Brexit, borne out of dealing with the challenges it presents within food and farming.

  10. As your comments editor states, Wicked Leeks is a forum for debate, so maybe Guy would do well to reserve some of his more contentious opinions for that forum. I have a Riverford account, and I get Wicked Leeks posted to my inbox, but until today I haven’t bothered to sign up to the forum. In spite of this, I was treated to Guy’s opinion on Brexit in my last veg box. I usually enjoy reading his veg box news, but on this occasion I think he has overstepped the mark. I am a science graduate, but I joined all the other ‘misinformed idiots’ who voted for Brexit. I knew exactly what I was voting for, the problem has been that a totally inept government has been incapable of delivering it. I am in despair over MP’s who seem to have forgotten that they are the servants of the people, not vice versa. Regardless of their own opinions, or the predominant opinion in their own individual constituencies, they had just one obligation, and that was to deliver on the results of a national referendum. Even in my own immediate family, which is split 50:50 between leave and remain, we now know better than to raise the subject of Brexit when we get together. Guy would be well advised to do likewise.

    1. I KNOW the newsletter is in my vegbox! I don’t agree with it being used as an opportunity for Guy to encourage people to try to reverse Brexit, when many of his customers voted for it. It’s a topic that now arouses such strong emotions that he would do well to leave it alone. To compare to an article on apples is ridiculous.

    2. Hi Vegnut. The point about the apple newsletter was not to compare but to point out that the topic of the newsletter varies weekly and is not always political. This particular piece was something Guy feels strongly enough about to write about, although of course we realise it is a divisive topic. If you have any other queries regarding your veg boxes, please feel free to contact the Riverford customer service team directly on help@riverford.co.uk.

  11. Brexit and Boris the dangerous , Boris the contaminant, Boris the nasty piece of eton toff Reece Mogg marauder will do what ever it takes to save his atomised self form political humiliation. Please do everything you can to help the move to stop the poroaguing of Parliament and protect our democracy. Get out on the streets, attend a coup, don’t be a passive consumer of all this new liberal market nonsense. Be a an activist, a participating a creator not a consumer . create change form a circle and stop Boris and his contemptuous ilk.


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