What’s Going On Here?
The conservation of small-scale farming and the transition away from extensive industrial farming methods is key for a sustainable future. This twofold strategy is fundamental for the health of the planet, as highlighted this week by Prince Charles.
What Does This Mean?
Since the 1990s small, family run farms in the UK have been in decline, priced out by larger commercial outfits that can produce greater yields. Now facing mammoth changes off the back of the Brexit deal, such farms once central to rural life in the UK are no longer economically viable.
The Prince of Wales has stipulated the importance of protecting these farms to bolster regenerative agriculture in the UK and lessen environmental degradation. Small farms are proven to help promote soil health, increase biodiversity and diversify outputs.
Why Should We Care?
Small scale farmers are the backbone of British agriculture and custodians of the land. They apply regenerative technologies that protect ecosystem health and thus help mitigate some of the environmental degradation occurring through high output farming systems.
The pressure of Brexit is likely to spur a spike in intensive agricultural systems in the UK, as EU subsidies stop and farmers face significant financial challenges. Without government support, we are likely to see a steep rise in the number of large-scale farms. Such farms have huge repercussions for the environment, animal welfare and food standards.
The concern among farmers is that without political and financial support, the likelihood is that the UK will experience an agricultural transition similar to that of the US. Whereby there will be only a handful of small organic farms selling produce at a premium to a minority of the population while the majority of consumers are sold lowest common denominator imports.
Prince Charles has called for a global co-operative of small scale farmers that are committed to ensuring the highest ecological standards for farming and food production.
You can help secure the future of small scale farming by:
- Shopping locally and buying local produce
- Join the campaign to stop factory farming in the UK here
- Understand the details of Prince Charles’ initiative