Our commitment to ensuring a resilient food and farming system in the UK
Soil Association will work to unite farmers, environmentalists and public health leaders around a shared set of asks of Government in response to the lessons of Covid-19.
These asks are to:
1. Reduce the uncertainty for farmers at this crucial time
Enshrine the manifesto commitment to protect UK food, welfare and environment standards in all trade deals in the Agriculture Bill and Trade Bill.
2. Announce a target to double UK fruit production by 2025
Invest in growing fruit and veg production from horticulture, agroforestry and orchards and take immediate steps to double public procurement of organic and locally-sourced fruit & veg, including for school meals and via the School Fruit & Vegetable scheme.
3. Retain the Agriculture Bill’s ground-breaking ‘Public Money for Public Goods’ principle.
- clarify that the Government will take an integrated ‘whole farm’ approach that ensures environmental protection goes hand in hand with sustainable, healthy food production and a thriving rural economy.
- make clear that public health is a public good and can be a purpose of future farm support. Healthy food security from nutritious crop diversity, livestock systems free from routine antibiotic reliance, care farming and public footpath creation are all important examples of farming for public health benefit.
- incorporate a legally binding target to end deforestation within UK agricultural and forestry commodity supply by 2030 at the latest, as recommended by the Global Resource Initiative Taskforce.
4. Respond to legitimate concerns about ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) timeline and funding levels
- Ensure funding levels are sufficient to incentivise farmers to transition to sustainable farming models, with a commitment to a minimum of £2bn funding available to farmers via ELMS.
- Commit to giving every farmer Resilience support and access to farm business adaptation advice ensuring no productivity grants are wasted on stranded assets and no farms fail needlessly. Clarify that productivity grants will be linked to whole farm transition plans towards regenerative agriculture/agroecology and towards higher-welfare livestock systems with reduced reliance on routine use of antibiotics.
5. Ask the National Food Strategy team to review its strategy
- the lessons learned from Covid-19 about the resilience and flexibility of food supply chains, and the impacts of the erosion of regional and local food supply and processing infrastructure.
- UK agricultural land use and related policy drivers, including assessment of whether biofuel and animal feed production are a strategic use of cropland, given the priorities of healthy food security and an integrated response to the climate and nature emergencies.