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A People’s Food Policy – rescuing small farms

Wheel of policies and implementations - A People's Food Policy

June 26 2017: A People’s Food Policy was released when Brexit negotiations began.

In advance of leaving the European Union, A People’s Food Policy is a ground-breaking manifesto outlining a people’s vision of food and farming in England, supported by over 80 food and farming organisations including the Biodynamic Land Trust.

In the foreword, Olivier de Schutter, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008 – 2014) and co-chair, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), says:

“The shift required is from efficiency to resilience, from supporting bigness and economies of scale to rescuing small farms from disappearance, and from quantity (of calories) to quality (of nutrition).”

Agriculture is one of the sectors facing the most uncertainty as a result of the UK leaving the EU. However, Brexit could be an opportunity to create a joined-up food policy that truly meets the needs of land and people.

Dee Butterly, the coordinator of A People’s Food Policy, young tenant farmer and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance says:

“The way our food system functions and is governed needs to radically change. We need to develop a national food policy in the coming years that transforms our food systems and that puts equality, resilience and justice at the forefront.”

Image by Walter Lewis from report of Fadia Courts of Wheelbarrow Farm is a mixed small holding just outside Stroud in Gloucestershire.
Image by Walter Lewis from A People’s Food Policy of Fadia Court, Wheelbarrow Farm, Gloucestershire

A People’s Food Policy found:

  • 64% of farmers earn less than £10,000 a year
  • The UK is currently only 57% self-sufficient in vegetables and 18% self-sufficient in fruit.
  • The UK is the 6th largest economy in the world and yet in 2014, over 8.4 million people living in UK households reported having insufficient food.

A People’s Food Policy proposes to:

  • Create a new system for supporting England’s farmers
  • Support farming that delivers public goods
  • Fund community farms and new farmers
  • Reform the tax system
  • Tax breaks for landholders offering fallow urban land for temporary food growing
  • Exempt active farmers, who pass their land to family members also actively farming the land, from inheritance
  • Local authorities to support local food networks by offering reduced business rates and affordable market access to local enterprises.

These are a sample of policies to transform food and farming. Please visit A People’s Food Policy for the full report.

The Biodynamic Land Trust grows farms

Invest in The Biodynamic Land Trust’s community share offer for Huxhams Cross Farm, south Devon, to bring about economic, ecological and cultural change in the countryside.

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