Transitioning to sustainable farming

“A massive shift is needed to take us from the post-WW2 cheaper-food-at-all-costs production model to something more sustainable.”

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Leaving the EU is going to mean things are going to happen very differently down on the farm:

Radical changes to UK farming – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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It’s clear, though, that any new policies and practices will have to be sustainable:

How to create a sustainable food system: an analysis – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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Sam Watson Jones, writing on the Fourth Agricultural Revolution website, looks at where we could be going:

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Transition: navigating a rocky road to sustainable farming?

“A massive shift is needed to take us from the post-WW2 cheaper-food-at-all-costs production model to something more sustainable.”— James Rebanks

James Rebanks has carved out a reputation as a farmer with something to say about the future of farming: and his strong response to the Transition in his latest Unherd articles sums up the feelings of many.

Get it wrong, and Brexit will ruin Britain’s farms and betray our farmers. Without the safety net of subsidies, and only a “hazy ELM scheme which has yet to commit to paying a fair or decent price for things that will do a great deal of public good, like carbon sequestration or flood alleviation,” James is pretty brutal in his conclusion: “we haven’t worked it out yet, but you are definitely going off that cliff”.

But I’m an optimist and I prefer James’ more positive vision: Get it right, and we could save British farming and the countryside. As James so eloquently puts it, “We need to change the way we see and think about farming…The sensible people in farming increasingly realise that we have to reconcile two complex demands — we have to work out how to farm productively but in healthy ecosystems, which in some cases we are going to have to rebuild.”

“We may need to devote a greater share of our GDP to food production to do it in ways that make our countryside somewhere to be proud of — it is at about 10% at present, a quarter of its value a century ago”— James Rebanks

Transition: navigating a rocky road to sustainable farming? — 4AR

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Here’s a little more from James Rebanks:

Sheep and trees – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Sheep farming in Cumbria – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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photo: forest farming is an option…

   
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