Farming, particularly livestock farming, is often touted as a cause of climate change and biodiversity loss. We believe it can be part of the solution too. This session looked at how farmers are an integral part of a transition to a food system where everyone has access to a planet-friendly diet with more plants and better meat.
We started by looking into what ‘better’ livestock production looks like and what the transition to food and farming systems that deliver healthy and sustainable diets and support the livelihoods of farmers. What are the policy and financial instruments available for this transition? What is missing? What are the threats? We then looked at some practical examples from agroecological farmers and their stories of transition to systems that work with nature and not against it as well as experience from SFP network members in engaging with farmers.
1. What does ‘better’ looks like and how do we get there
James Woodward works for Sustain in the farming team and focuses on agroecology, agricultural policy and supply chains. He has previously worked for the National Farmers’ Union, Natural England and Defra on various areas of farming policy and advice, as well as on his family’s sheep and beef farm in Cumbria.
2. Practical examples
Nikki Yoxall is a first generation farmer based in NE Scotland where she and her husband run Grampian Graziers. She works with the Pasture Fed Livestock Association to support the links between academic research and PFLA farmers and members. Nikki is a PhD student at the Countryside and Community Research Institute investigating agroecological transitions, she sits on the board of NatureScot and the Nature Friendly Farming Network Scotland steering group.
Dan Burdett is a dairy farmer from West Sussex, managing two organic herds totaling 480 cows, supplying milk to McDonald's through Co-op Arla. He is passionate about increasing diversity on the farms and looking for ways to regenerate the soils. He recently finished his Nuffield Farming Scholarship entitled "Regenerative Agriculture: How to make the change happen". @farmerdanb
Carolyn Bell is the coordinator of Food4Fyfe, the food partnership for Fyfe. Fyfe hosted a Fork2Farm dialogue between farmers and cities in the run-up to COP26, alongside 15 other cities and places around the world. The dialogues brought together farmers, local authority and other stakeholders and have so far resulted in pilot projects to enable more local production to go into local food service including schools.
3. Panel discussion chaired by Peter Samson, Food and Growing Coordinator, Food Durham, and smallholder producing Shetland hogget