20 May 2020
Prince Charles has urged unemployed and furloughed Brits to become fruit pickers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 71-year-old royal has backed the ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign – a website created for those without jobs to sign up to work for businesses in need of extra help, specifically in the agricultural industry – and called on those who are out of work because of the health crisis to sign up for the manual labour job to ensure the nation can maintain its food supply.
Charles – who is next in line to the British throne – insisted it will take “an army” to keep the industry ticking over and to make sure fruits and vegetables don’t go to waste.
In a video message, he said: “At this time of great uncertainty, many of our normal routines and regular patterns of life are being challenged.
“The food and farming sector is no exception.
“If we are to harvest British fruit and vegetables this year, we need an army of people to help.
“Food does not happen by magic; it all begins with our remarkable farmers and growers.
“If the last few weeks have proved anything, it is that food is precious and valued, and it cannot be taken for granted.
“This is why that great movement of the Second World War – the Land Army – is being rediscovered in the newly-created ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign.
“In the coming months, many thousands of people will be needed to bring in the crops.”
Charles admitted it will be “a hard graft” and dubbed the back-breaking job “unglamorous”, but said it’s “vital” to keep the country fed amid the pandemic.
He said: “It will be hard graft but is hugely important if we are to avoid the growing crops going to waste.
“Harvesting runs until the early Autumn and people are needed who are genuinely going to commit. The phrase I have often heard is: “pickers who are stickers.
“I do not doubt that the work will be unglamorous and, at times, challenging.
“But it is of the utmost importance and, at the height of this global pandemic, you will be making a vital contribution to the national effort.”
The royal’s backing of the ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign comes after he admitted he’s worried Covid-19 could “destroy” the British cheese industry.
Charles has found “comfort” in the dairy product during the crisis, and has encouraged people to go out and buy locally sourced cheese in order to stop the pandemic from “destroying one of the most wonderful joys in life”.
In a post shared to the Clarence House Instagram page, he said: “One thing that undoubtedly brings many of us great comfort is good food. It is, therefore, deeply troubling to learn that this crisis risks destroying one of the most wonderful joys in life – British cheese!”
The royal – who battled a mild case of coronavirus himself and has since recovered – has been patron of the Speciality Cheesemakers Association since 1993, and is passionate about supporting local cheeses.