Brexit could be the starting point for a fresh approach to food and farming in Wales, setting the standard for the United Kingdom; argues a new briefing from the Food Research Collaboration1.
Much has been made of the risks Brexit poses to Welsh food producers, especially its upland lamb and beef farmers. However, the briefing argues that Wales has a forward-looking government with several innovative pieces of legislation that could support a transition to fairer and more environmentally sustainable farming and food production, if political authority and public support can be mobilised to link them together.
The briefing, written by Jane Powell and Corinne Castle of the Wales Food Manifesto, sets out the steps needed to achieve an integrated food and farming policy for Wales post-Brexit. They emphasize two key factors that enable Wales to take these steps: vibrant networks of grassroots organisations building innovative local food enterprises and the radical pieces of legislation introduced by the Welsh government that could be used to engineer a new food economy.
Corinne Castle said:
‘Brexit gives Wales an opportunity to make a step-change into a new approach to food and farming, but it will only happen if there is a wholesale realignment of all those involved with the food system, and a willingness to see ourselves differently. Old oppositions, say between food production and wildlife, or between supermarkets and community initiatives, will have to transform. Above all, we will need to bring back more trust and respect to the vital business of feeding a nation.’
The authors recommend that the public funding that replaces the Common Agricultural Policy, must be for farming that integrates food production with care for the environment. Subsidy should be based on what farmers do, not how much land they manage, with support for new entrants.
Jane Powell commented:
‘It’s time for a fresh approach to food and farming in Wales. Grassroots initiatives in both rural areas and cities are pioneering new ways of producing and distributing food, government is changing the way it works, and global challenges are more acute than ever. We need to seize the moment and set a new course for food, one that works for everyone. A new national civil society network would be a vital first step to draw people together.’
For the full list of recommendations read the briefing: https://foodresearch.org.uk/download/14226/
Read the Executive summary: https://foodresearch.org.uk/download/14227/
1, The Food Research Collaboration (FRC) brings together academics and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to improve food policy in the United Kingdom. As an initiative of the Centre for Food Policy, at City, University of London, we support the Centre’s mission of advancing integrated and inclusive food policy. This briefing paper is part of the FRC Food Brexit Briefing series, with the full series available here: https://foodresearch.org.uk/food-brexit-briefings/
4 thoughts on “Brexit – the starting point for a fresh approach to food and farming in Wales”
Excellent overview of the challenges and opportunities we face as a nation with regards to re-creating a sustainable agriculture policy for Wales, fit for 21st Century realities, and for building community resilience, improved physical and mental well-being and local economic potential. A holistic and integrated vision and strategy will be crucial.
A practical and pragmatic article at a critical juncture in the debate. Well done indeed!
Geoff Thomas (Cae Tan CSA)
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Certainly. I am an active member of the Landworker’s Alliance and in touch with Social Farms and Gardens during their transitional period. There is, thankfully, much going on behind the scenes at the grass-roots level.
I see so much potential if we stop seeing everything in terms of ‘us versus them’ and instead respect different viewpoints and diversity of farming approaches. If Brexit forces a re-think then it really is an opportunity to change the way farming and food are supported with room for everyone.