12 Jan 2018: Post-Gove, Molly Scott Cato visits Oakbrook biodynamic farm, Stroud

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for south west England
Following the Biodynamic Land Trust’s attendance and workshop at the Oxford Real Conference conference 2018, the Biodynamic Land Trust is delighted to announce a visit by Dr Molly Scott Cato (image above), Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar, to Oakbrook Farm, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

 

Michael Gove secretary of state at the Oxford Real Farming conference 2018

Image (above) of the Secretary of State, the Right Honourable MP, Michael Gove, and the right honourable MP, Zac Goldsmith was taken by Biodynamic Land Trust shortly before Gove spoke to the Oxford Real Farming conference in a question-and-answer session with Goldsmith.

Press release for immediate release  
                     

Biodynamic Land Trust welcomes Molly Scott Cato on the land

Friday 12 January 2018 at 2.30pm on Oakbrook Farm, Stroud GL6 7QW

Images & interviews comms @biodynamiclandtrust.org. uk @BDLandTrust

Following the Oxford Real Farming conference where Molly Scott Cato issued a challenge to environment secretary Michael Gove, the Green MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar is meeting the Biodynamic Land Trust on a biodynamic organic farm in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Molly Scott Cato, who sits on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, wants to end the use of agricultural land as a tax haven in the UK with a Land Value tax. (Notes to editor)

Dr Scott Cato also intends to keep the environment secretary to his promise of a “green” Brexit. The Right Honourable MP, Michael Gove, promised last week at the Oxford Real Farming Conference that farmers would no longer be paid subsidies for owning land, but for delivering “public goods”.

The current payment system of £3bn a year to UK is based on the amount of land that farmers own.

Molly Scott Cato says: Taxes and subsidies must be treated as a package; in economic terms they are two sides of the same coin. The generous tax breaks that agricultural land receives, through for example, being exempt from inheritance tax after two years, must be ended if we are to create a truly just farming system. So, it is vital that Michael Gove consider both taxes and subsidies when developing his new plan for farming.”

The 41-acre Oakbrook Farm in Gloucestershire adjoining Hawkwood College was purchased by the Biodynamic Land Trust with public investment in community shares in 2015. Now farmed by Stroud Micro Dairy and a student farmer supported by Stroud Community Agriculture, the community farm hosts volunteering and community events.

Stroud-based charity, the Biodynamic Land Trust has several parcels of land around the UK tenanted by farmers producing local food. These farms capture carbon to reduce climate change by building soil’s optimum fertility with biodynamic organic farming methods. (Notes to editor)

Director of the Biodynamic Land Trust, Gabriel Kaye, says: “We are delighted to welcome Molly to the land. Oakbrook Farm is an excellent example of the kind of farm which delivers public benefit, protects nature, and provides job opportunities as well as delicious local food.”

Gabriel Kaye continues: “We welcome Gove’s promise to reward small farms such as ours for delivering public benefit. A Land Value Tax would help level the playing field by making farmland more affordable. Currently, the cost of land is prohibitive for ordinary farmers. The Biodynamic Land Trust is breaking the land-as-bank trend by encouraging the public to invest in land through our not-for-profit community shares to secure it for biodynamic organic farming for generations to come.”

Notes to editors

  1. The world’s longest-running trial comparing organic and conventional farming, the DOK crop systems trial in Therwil, Switzerland, found biodynamic soils are higher in biodiverse microbial activity than organic ones, and surpasses organic soils for drought resistance and carbon capture. http://www.fibl.org/en/switzerland/research/soil-sciences/bw-projekte/dok-trial.html 
  2. https://biodynamiclandtrust.org.uk/oakbrook-farm/   @BDLandTrust @BiodynamicUK
  3. http://mollymep.org.uk/2018/01/03/end-agricultural-land-being-tax-haven/
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