“You need time to make good food but time set aside to make good things for family and friends becomes a luxury in itself and the reward is all the sweeter.”
– Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall
Hero of Sustainability
Known for his love of word plays and his shaggy hairdo Hugh is many things – a chef, a farmer, a TV personaility, an author, an entrepreneur, a husband and a father – amongst many others. Above all Hugh is an inspiration, his enthusiasm is infectious and his determination is an example to us all.
Beginning nearly fifteen years ago Hugh’s TV series, River Cottage, has followed his journey towards responsible, sustainable self-sufficiency. Hugh has taken us along for the ride, seeing his first faltering steps in animal husbandry and horticulture, not to mention his troubles making ends meet. Hugh foraged, fished and hunted. He bartered his produce and his time. He added value to his produce by making delicious recipes and then selling them in local farmers’ markets.
Hugh was never afraid to admit his lack of know-how and experience. From the start was quick to get expert help from HIS ‘Heroes’ as he calls them – neighbours, colleagues and expert mentors who could share their knowledge with him.
From those early days he has lived and learned. He has shared his knowledge with us. Hugh’s message has always been clear. A good life is one where we are connected – with other people, the land, the sea, the environment, what we eat and what we do. His goal was always to live a life of responsibility and care – for people, the land and the whole environment.
One of his early initiatives and great successes was to help locals create and develop a neighbourhood allotment in Bristol. This was Hugh’s way of showing that even urbanites can re-connect with each other and with the land and what they eat.
Hugh loves good food. He teaches us that healthy and sustainable food is better for everyone – and for the earth. He shows us that the simple things in life such as growing, preparing, cooking and sharing food can add a sense of fulfillment to life.
The River Cottage enterprise has grown to include the TV series, DVDs, books, restaurants, classes and courses (on cooking, fishing, foraging, food preparation, etc), catering and special events.
In addition to these initiatives which all extol the virtue of good food Hugh has instigated a number of campaigns in Britain, including:
Half of all fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back overboard dead. This is because of EU regulations stating that fish species caught above the allowed quota must not be landed by a fishing boat. Hugh has started a campaign to get the EU to change it’s regulations.
In Britain, Landshare brings together people who have a passion for home-grown food, connecting those who have land to share with those who need land for cultivating food. Since its launch by Hugh in 2009 it has grown into a thriving community of more than 55,000 growers, sharers and helpers.
Around 90% of UK chickens are farmed in barren and crowded sheds with no outdoor access, no natural daylight and little room to move freely. These birds have been selectively bred to reach slaughter weight in around six weeks, these unnaturally fast growth rates result in millions of chickens suffering from painful leg disorders, breathing disabilities, ammonia burns and dying of lung or heart failure.
Through the Chicken Out! campaign, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall andCompassion in World Farming are reaching out to consumers, politicians, producers and retailers to put an end to the intensive ‘factory’ farming of chickens.
Like all true heroes Hugh isn’t trying to be a hero, he is just trying to do what he thinks is right. He is indeed a man of action but a man who considers the consequences of his actions. We congratulate Hugh and thank him for his good works, his inspiration and his guidance.
For more information visit the River Cottage Website