We are at a fork in the road - help us set the right path
Decisions are being made now for UK food and farming - help us secure the right decisions
While the world is understandably preoccupied with the current pandemic, crucial decisions are being made. With Brexit on the horizon decisions are being made very rapidly on everything from the UK Agriculture and Environment Bills, to trade deals and what incentives will be given to farmers. This legislation will affect the food we eat, where it comes from, how it is produced, animal welfare standards and the effect on nature and our climate.
We, with our many partners and allies, must bring all our resources to bear to ensure that food standards are not compromised, and that family farms, which are integral to rural communities, can thrive. If we don’t do this now, the moment when change is possible will have passed.
Before Covid-19, ever increasing numbers of people were starting to recognise the huge role that food, farming and the way we manage land must play in stabilising the climate, reversing the loss of wildlife and soils, and keeping us healthy. Now is the time that it is all to play for. There is a clear understanding that we have this decade, at most, to make the right decisions for the health of our planet and for our own health. The next ten years are critical, but we need action now.
You know, and our governments know, that we face further difficult times ahead. We will inevitably go into recession, and unemployment is already rising steeply. It will be tempting to take the wrong fork in the road because there may be short term political and economic benefits.
The very great fear is that this will manifest as the wrong trade deals, or a focus on intensifying food production regardless of the environmental or animal welfare cost. It may mean abandoning smaller family farms in favour of the large and supposedly more ‘efficient’. It may mean not investing in sustainable, nature friendly farming methods, like agroforestry, which has the potential to increase the quantity and diversity of the foods we produce and eat, while reinvigorating local communities, nature and capturing carbon. Nature-friendly farming must be – it can be – a huge part of the solution.
We must regenerate our soils and adapt our farmlands so that they once again become a home for nature.
This is the time for daring and courageous ambitions, the time to imagine a better future and the time to put all the knowledge and expertise that the Soil Association has to the service of all of UK farming and food. This must involve reducing pesticide and antibiotic use, increasing organic farmland, more farms in sustainably managed woodlands, growth of agroforestry systems and our soils increasing in organic matter.
Together, we must make our voices heard to ensure that UK policy makers make the right choices while the world is distracted by the current crisis. We need to influence at the highest levels, and we need to do it now.
Please donate today
However small or large your donation, your support today will take us another step forward to support our farmers on the transition to agroecology – and we cannot thank you enough.