Food & Farming

Food and farming are hot issues currently, and likely to remain so for some years to come. One reason is that accelerating climate change is increasing food security issues, arising from crop failures globally and in the UK. Another reason is that UK farming and food policies are currently under debate, as new frameworks are created post-Brexit. These policies need to address a multiplicity of issues, for example the need to increase domestic food production, and also to make substantial land available for forestry and rewilding. Food policies also need to balance multiple priorities, including health, sustainability, and affordability. For blogs on these issues click here.

Food security means reliable access to enough affordable, healthy food. Climate change is already impacting food supplies, and is forecast to create much greater disruption in the years ahead, both in the UK and across the world. However, future weather patterns in the UK bring opportunities as well as threats. With adaptive cultivation methods, changes in crops, and support from consumers, the UK could increase its food security and reduce its vulnerability to imported supplies. 

Seeding our Future has commissioned research to explore these issues. The report on Growing through Climate Change is now available as a free download: see links below. There are two versions: one for Wales, one for South West England. One aim of the research is to support Seeding our Future’s work with other organisations in Wales and the Marches. Whilst the reports focus on Wales and South West England, many of the conclusions can be extended to the rest of the UK.

The reports cover four main topics: 

  • Which locally grown foods are most at risk in the future from climate change;
  • What adaptive cultivation practices could help, for anyone from an allotment holder to a large-scale farmer;
  • How vulnerable crops, or substitutes, could be grown in these areas;
  • Ways for consumers to adapt, including support for local producers, diet changes, and community initiatives.

Producers and consumers have plenty of opportunities to increase the resilience of local food supplies: but grasping these opportunities will need determination, funding and a willingness to innovate before the problems get more severe. Changing crops and cultivation methods requires time, investment and assured markets.  South West England is blessed with a good range of independent, clear-thinking producers of all scales, strong communities, and many other assets which could be built on to form a robust local food economy.

For more information click the following links.

Growing through Climate Change: Wales – Full Report
Growing through Climate Change: Wales – Summary Report
Growing through Climate Change: South West England – Full Report
Growing through Climate Change: South West England – Summary Report

Briefing Paper for Arable and Mixed Farmers