CPRE joins coalition on food, farming and nature
CPRE has joined farmers and environmental charities to agree on a set of principles for the future of farming. We hope that will help farmers and environmentalists work together more effectively to create sustainable farming that works for people and nature while helping us resist climate breakdown.
The consensus, which you can read here, came to fruition at the 2023 Oxford Farming Conference. We’re pleased to be part of this powerful collective voice, which aims to create a more resilient, fair, and sustainable food system.
Graeme Willis, agriculture lead at CPRE, said: ‘Farmers need support in facing the nature, climate, and financial crises. This consensus unites farmers and charities who are passionate about nature and the environment. It sets down all we agree on – which is much – and a set of core ideas that bind us.
‘We know how vital it is to think strategically about how we use the precious asset that land is. This will be the start of a wider conversation over the next six months. We’re also keen to hear from all our farming members – and others besides. What in this consensus resonates with you, or what would you do differently? All views are welcome – you can get in touch here.’
Our recent work
CPRE has long advocated for nature-based farming and climate solutions, and for improving food security. With farmland making up two-thirds of our countryside, we need to support a system that restores habitats, provides fresh air and clean water, and nurtures the landscapes that make our countryside so special.
In November 2022, our survey of over 1,100 farmers showed that hedgerows were important to many of them. We’re calling on the government to set a target of increasing our hedgerow network by 40% by 2050. With much of this likely to be on farmland, farmers must receive the support they need to regenerate hedgerows. A few weeks ago, the government indicated that it will pay more to farmers who help with nature restoration – but this is only part of the solution.
Also last year, CPRE’s impactful research showed that thousands of hectares of productive farmland has been lost to development. This puts huge pressure on our food security, with large areas of quality farmland also at risk of flooding due to climate change.
A voice for change
The consensus has a set of core principles that forms its foundation. It sets out that a healthy environment underpins food security, and that farming is central to tackling a range of environmental and health crises. Further, it argues that diversity in nature, farming, and communities, as well as in crops and animals, is crucial. It supports resilience and innovation in the face of the climate emergency and the economic challenges we face today.
The coalition includes the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN), Pasture for Life, Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, CPRE, Soil Association, Sustain, RSPB, WWF UK, National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and Woodland Trust, among others.
We’re looking forward to working together to forge a path to a farming and food system that works for people and the planet.