Around this time last year we spent a couple of hours speaking with a researcher from the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission. It was part of their UK bike tour where researchers spent a week at a time travelling through a particular region of the UK to get a first-hand, in-depth understanding of the issues and opportunities of the place. We were happy to take part.
We spoke about our journey towards ecological farming, what drove our decision making, what we thought about current farming policies, what we saw as the big challenges and what the future might hold. It wasn’t time wasted by any means, but it was one of many such conversations we had last year – we didn’t think too much on it, and we didn’t expect it to really make a difference.
Yesterday, after two years of research, the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission published their final report, and it makes for a very interesting read indeed. You might have seen the headlines in the media as it was launched with some fanfare, and a strong recommendation that agroecology should be the priority for the future of the farming industry.
It is clear there is growing consensus that ecological farming methods need to be prioritised. This recommendation also aligns with the UN’s IPBES report a few months ago which similarly highlighted the importance of regenerative, ecological and innovative farming. We urgently need government policy to catch up with the recommendations within these reports. Change needs to happen now.
If you are interested in issues of land use, food production and rural development, the report, Our Future is in the Land, is well worth a read, you can download a copy here https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/future-land.
We were pleased to share our story in the Field Guide for the Future, which accompanies the main report and is full of interesting case studies. You down load it here https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/field-guide-future.
So what does it all mean in real terms? Well the simple answer is that there’s now a growing body of evidence that suggests farming needs to be part of the climate solution. The more that all of us talk about these issues, share ideas and knowledge and make positive buying choices, the more we can be part of delivering that solution.
As the report states, “The actions we take in the next ten years, to stop ecosystems collapse, to recover and regenerate nature and to restore people’s health and wellbeing are now critical.”
We will keep interrogating our own approach to food production, we will keep improving our processes and we will keep talking about our experience. With the climate catastrophe that’s heading towards us at frightening speed, doing everything we possibly can to make a difference is the least we can do.