Response to Guardian Notes & Queries

Mon, 10/05/2021 - 11:04am

Last week Notes and Queries in The Guardian published a really interesting question:

"How big would Britain have to be for all the meat, milk and eggs we consume to be ethically farmed and free range?"

The answers are well worth a read in the link above, but we thought you might like to read David's response, which wasn't one of the replies published by the paper. 

How big would Britain have to be for all its meat, milk and eggs to be ethically farmed?

Exactly the same size as it is today, but it would look very different.

Gone are the vast sheds full of poor tortured souls. Gone are the huge expanses of monocrops fertilised, and sprayed with an armoury of toxic chemicals. Gone are the shiploads of imported feeds grown on deforested land on the other side of the world. Gone are the endless road haulage and distribution juggernauts belching filth into our air. Gone are the soulless industrial processing and re-processing plants producing lifeless, over-processed, sterile junk for us to eat. Gone are the endless, thankless, repetitive and meaningless food system jobs that only desperate people from desperate countries will tolerate.

Instead we have a diverse country-side of small but profitable family farms caring for their wildlife, soils, crops, animals and helpers with a healthy but balanced lifestyle producing real food free from toxic pollutants to a healthy population through a joined-up food system that minimises processing and packaging. The public purse savings from a healthier population and an environment freed from pollutants has been re-distributed to the population to ensure all can afford just a little bit more for their life and health-giving food.

A fantasy? Not at all. We began our farm transition to organic, regenerative, 100% pasture farming over 20 years ago and the results prove that even in an industry fundamentally hostile to such practices, we have achieved the outcomes described above.

Ethical farming needn’t use more land and it needn’t cost more, but if we don’t address our broken food system urgently, the resulting environmental degradation could cost us everything.

David Finlay