Where I grew up in rural Norfolk, the market would come to town every Wednesday. This was a place where people come together to buy and sell pretty much everything. The meat and veg for the Sunday Roast, a second hand copy of some pulp fiction novel or (my own personal favourite) a bag of hard boiled sweets with enough E-numbers to sink a battle ship.

But as well as being a place to buy and sell, this market was a place where people meet friends and talk about their lives. It was a place to meet new people and swap ideas.
It was and is a community.

At EnTrade, this is what we are trying to build – a marketplace which is a community of farmers focussed on helping to develop a better environment. A marketplace where new ideas can be swapped, but also a market place that creates additional income for those who can create something positive for the environment.

These digital market places could key for rural communities as we head towards what could be months of lockdown. At EnTrade we’ve always known that farmers are essential workers, but at this time the country will see this more clearly. It’s time to support the farming community where we can.

At EnTrade, we believe face-to-face interactions are the best way of engaging with farmers, and for farmers to engage with each other. But over the next few months, that’s not likely to be possible. We’ve always backed up our in person meetings with digital means, but in the coming months this digital communication will be essential to essential in creating opportunities for farmers.

EnTrade is proud to work with clients still planning to launch markets for nature-based solutions in Norfolk, Dorset, Cheshire and Wiltshire in the next month. We discussed postponing many of these schemes, but we decided very quickly that its more important than ever to keep going, providing a community and providing opportunities.

To reach farmers and landowners, we will be speaking to people on the phone and through video conferencing. We will be providing simple training videos to help farmers through the process as we can’t be there in person. We’ll be running webinars with farmers and potential buyers, to answer questions and help spread the word.

For some this will be the first time they have tried this technology. These are clearly not ideal circumstances, but we hope to help those who need it with the process, which we hope to contribute positively to their lives over the coming months.

We employ remote verification and slick payment systems to give farmers the opportunity to make money and improve the environment during these difficult times. The short term will be difficult for many of us, but continuing to invest in the environment we good for all of us in the long term.

We are EnTrade and we are a community. We think we can help best by carrying on with what we are doing. And this is what we will do.