Sustain sets out sustainable farming vision

An alliance of food and farming NGOs has called for a new farming policy post-Brexit that will deliver sustainable, resilient farming based on the principle of public money for public goods.

In a briefing paper, Sustain said that a focus on high volume, low standard food production would be wrong for the UK farming industry and that a lowering of production standards must not be the political trade-off for cuts in farm support.

Among a suite of policy proposals are for public sector procurement standards for schools, services and hospitals to specify health and sustainability criteria and the use of high standard UK farm produce; and the development of measures to shift the public to more sustainable diets.

Sustain is also calling for all farm workers to be paid the living wage as a minimum; and for the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to be extended beyond the big eight supermarkets.

On the issue of future subsidies, Sustain advocates replacing the old two pillar EU system with a new four-part deal for farming based on payments for public goods, capital grants, free advice and wider policy measures to ensure farmers can thrive.

“Our proposals recognise that farming provides wider public benefits including thriving rural communities, valued farm workers, good nutrition, a protected and nurtured environment and wildlife, and high animal welfare,” said Vicki Hird, sustainable farming campaign coordinator for the Sustain alliance.

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