Grow Back Better Manifesto

Grow Back Better is a new route-map to reinvigorate UK food, farming and land-use post-Covid-19, launched 9 November 2020.

Our Grow Back Better report advocates a response to the climate, nature and health crises that is as radical and rapid as the response to Covid-19 has been.

It also warns the wrong “green recovery” choices from policy makers, could lock us into damaging directions of travel in food, farming and land-use.

Drawing on our experience in devising and delivering practical solutions with people from all walks of life, we outline how to accelerate the transition to net-zero and regenerate wildlife and soils while enhancing the health and wellbeing of the population.

Looking a decade ahead, we identify the investment priorities and policy levers that will deliver change, and the pitfalls that must be avoided.

A Ten-Year Transition to Agroecology and Sustainable Land-Use

The Grow Back Better 10 priorities are:

  1. Transform livestock farming to dramatically reduce the risks of pandemics and antimicrobial resistance, resulting in a ‘good life’ for all farmed animals, cutting antibiotic use by 90%
  2. Exceed Europe’s ambition to halve pesticide use and grow organic farming to 25% farmed land by 2030
  3. Instigate a farmer-led tree planting revolution with over 5% of farmed land under agroforestry systems by 2030
  4. Increase farmer-led innovation and professional development – shift from agrichemical to agroecological R&D and knowledge sharing
  5. Turn soil from carbon sources into carbon sinks for climate resilience, and increase soil organic matter across all UK farms year-on-year
  6. Scale up fruit, veg, pulses and nut production by investing in UK horticulture
  7. Set ambition to cut ultra-processed food in the UK diet as France has done, so that ultra-processed foods form no more than 15% of the national UK diet
  8. Set bold public procurement targets, improving food quality and increasing organic procurement
  9. Ensure every child eats a healthy diet and gets a world class food education – for health, climate and nature
  10. Rebuild resilient, regional food supply chains and stop the deforestation often associated with UK animal feed

A Ten-Year Transition to Healthy and Sustainable Diets

The Soil Association is already pioneering many of the initiatives outlined in the manifesto, from farmer led innovation through: