We have been working alongside the Lake District upland fell farming community since we set up the herdy brand and launched the herdy fund back in 2008. When Herdwick meat was granted PDO status in 2014 we thought long and hard about what our next project could be and how best to use our skills and knowledge to support and help long term sustainable upland fell farming.
We came up with the idea of creating a brand for the Herdwick sheep and for the Herdwick farmer - a quality marque that could be used in a variety of projects, either meat or wool related, and would work to safeguard the balance between the Herdwick, the contemporary Lakeland landscape and upland fell farming into the future.
We gave our time and skills on this branding project for free because we utterly believe in supporting the herdwick breed for the future, and this seemed a way that two designers, who worked on branding could give support.
Responsibility and community are core principles of the company Diane and I have created. Giving back doesn't just mean financial sponsorship - it should also be about the sharing of knowledge and collaborative partnerships that allow every member of the community to play to their strengths. But the purpose meant a great deal to the Herdwick farmers because the launch of PDO status Herdwick meat instantly added financial value to the product, which went back directly into the Herdwick farmer.
It was great to see the brand support the campaign, delivered by Taste Cumbria and sponsored by the Princes Countryside Fund.
We have now put a formal management structure in-place for the brand, and to enable this to happen legally we had to ‘sell’ the rights to the Herdwick Breeders Association – which we did – for the sum of £1. The Herdy Company have made no income or profit at all out of this collaboration, and have given freely of time and expertise.
Going forward, the brand mark will be used for both meat and wool projects, and potentially could be used to market and promote activity that is related to the Herdwick community. They will be responsible for assigning the brand to vetted, approved and licensed farmers, auction houses, buyers and food retailers and wool manufacturers. In addition to the work that has been done so far, over the longer term we will be supporting the HSBA through knowledge share, using our creative design expertise to ensure this programme is managed and maintained. It is this kind of local area cross-sector collaboration that will become more important to the rural community in the years to come - a kind of strength in numbers strategy.
You will start to see this brand in selected local butchers and restaurants around the county, and featured in food publications and venture out of the county with chefs and restaurants choosing to feature the product on their menus. A number of high quality London restaurants are now also featuring Herdwick. Quality Herdwick branded wool products are now becoming available, and we at herdy have our own range of Herdwick products - bags and a cap, all made in England. When you see this quality endorsement mark be reassured that the provenance of the product you are buying is naturally reared, responsibly farmed animal.
So, please support the Herdwick farmer by buying Herdwick where you see the logo.