The vote was very close but carried by a majority. The organisation was started in 1979 by three farmers’ wives in Kent, to respond to the crisis in the horticultural sector when the country was being flooded with French apples.
The organisation has been highly successful over the years, campaigning on many issues and providing the very important link between producers and consumers. Many of the initiatives we started, for example: farming in the classroom; supermarket surveillance; promotions of British food at shows etc, are now being championed by other organisations with greater funding streams and achieving a successful end result.
Maureen Friday, WFU President, said: “Yesterday was a sad day, as I have been a proud member of the WFU for over 30 years. However, it was also a day of celebration of all the amazing work that has been achieved over the years by so many women in rural areas, representing the Women’s Food and Farming Union all over the UK. With the ever increasing use of social media and the digital age, the message is being delivered to our consumers fast and effectively. Many of those who joined the organisation at the start have handed down the farm to the next generation or are now sadly working full time off the farm, supporting their farm incomes and therefore have less time to get fully involved. Some of our members are also involved in direct commodity groups dealing with specific areas of personal interest, such as Ladies in Pigs and Ladies in Beef.”
Some branches will remain open and operate at a local level and hopefully a final celebration will be held for members when we will thank our many friends and supporters over the years. The Central Executive Committee will work towards closing the organisation this year.