The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (an independent charity involving many well known figures in food, farming and other areas) has just published a report that suggests how it might be possible to square the circle in producing sufficient healthy food to feed the nation whilst reversing the "nature crisis" and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically:
- eliminating synthetic fertilisers and pesticides
- nearly doubling the amount of land available for green and ecological infrastructure (ponds, hedges, meadows etc.)
- releasing 7.5% of current agricultural area for more flexible use
- reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture by at least 38% by 2050 (with potential to offset 60%+ of remaining emissions through an afforestation scenario)
- all without compromising food security or offshoring food production and the associated environmental impacts.
Agroecological (or regenerative) farming practices are at the heart of the proposals. Published on the first day of the Oxford Real Farming Conference and the main day of the Oxford Farming Conference, the report's publication was timed to be seen both by policymakers, farmers and producers alike.
The report introduces new research showing agroecology can produce enough healthy food for a future UK population and explores how this new technical modelling challenges and develops our thinking about a new food and farming system.