I'm watching the first episode of Monty Don's series My Dream Farm. The series, according to the DVD cover, charts the progress of six new farmers in their first year of working the land, guided by gardening and farming guru, Monty Don.
I haven't quite gotten to the end of the first episode yet but had to stop it to make a note of what was said at one point. In order to try and capitalise on their resources, this couple came up with several ideas for adding value to the products of their farm. One of those products is sheep and, given that a fleece will only sell for about one pound, they thought about using the wool to produce duvets. They found a nearby mill to process the fleeces and Monty Don was able to arrange for a couple of commercial buyers to come and visit. While both buyers thought that the price was too high, it's this line from the John Lewis buyer which has me seething: "[the price] probably hasn't been considered for a high street environment. I think Dick and Pauline have really approached it from what it actually costs for them to produce one unit." And this, I think, is part of the problem with our entire economy. While allowing that economies of scale may lead to some savings, expecting a price to come down by 30-50% is a bit much, I feel. They didn't seem to be fazed on hearing the news but I note that their website shows John Lewis as one of their stockists now. I know a short DVD spot will never give the full story but I do hope that they were able to sell at more than what it cost them to produce!