OVERVIEW / CONCLUSIONS
In early 2021, the Food Farming and Countryside Commission published a report explaining that their research has proven that the UK can feed itself using Nature Friendly methods. This is fantastic news but not a surprise now it is understood how much more food and more nutritious food at that, is produced when using regenerative farming techniques.
That is without needing imported food at all and that is without chemical inputs that we now know harm not only our soil, our carbon sequestration abilities but also the whole food chain, including ourselves.
This study highlights the increase in soil building and (therefore likely carbon capture), soil health (therefore likely plant health) and infiltration rates (therefore likely drought and flood mitigation), through regenerative practice
Please see the Food Farming and Countryside Commissions’ report and previous reports detailing how regenerative / agroecological farming also makes financial sense. Details of their reports can be found here – https://ffcc.co.uk/news-and-press/farmingforchange
Their ‘Farming for Change’ report suggests regions where types of food production should be prioritised, ‘extensive livestock systems in the north of the UK, mixed cropping and livestock systems in the south, west and east and vegetable systems focused on the fertile lowland areas of each region’. We need a large increase in fruit and nut production and in order to support a healthy ecological system we do indeed need to reduce meat and dairy intake and eat more veg, pulses, nuts and fruits.
The new payment scheme for farmers (ELMS – Environmental Land Management Scheme) coming through slowly from DEFRA over the next eight years is going to hopefully help the majority of farmers in the UK transition towards regenerative practice. However, this transition will be helped if coming also from the ground up.
This change of subsidy is the biggest shake up the farming sector has had since the war. Indeed, all industry, business and our daily lives, are having a massive shake up, not only because of Covid but as we realise, we cannot continue business as usual.
Agriculture is one part of our human jigsaw where, as far as GHG emissions and sequestration go, we can put back, more than we take. It is also a tool to improve upon our biodiversity and human health depletion. This is why regenerative agriculture is such a positive story and is increasingly getting the attention it deserves.
Change is never easy though especially for farmers stuck in toxic contracts, or with high rents, in debt and with us not paying a fair price for their labour. They are currently coping with poor soils, Brexit, Covid and increased flooding, droughts and high winds. It is not clear what they will get from the ELMS payments and Regenerative agriculture is a massive change of mindset for many. They were not taught regenerative agriculture at college and the only people who tend to visit them are machinery and agrichemical salesmen plus their vets.
Many have already given up and many will follow but there will soon be more, brave, happier farmers, starting along the regenerative path. The market needs to be there to welcome them though and, in this respect, please see our vision for an increase of more convenient food hubs, (see ‘Food Hub Vision’, bottom section of this website). Perhaps you could help instigate one in your area?
We need a more diverse mixture of locally produced food, grown in healthier soils. Not potatoes that travel 9000 miles, are wrapped in plastic and covered in chemicals!
Please therefore support regenerative farmers, education around its benefits and local, regenerative food systems however you can.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION SEE –
John Kempf’s informative and useful podcasts and videos –https://johnkempf.com/
How plants farm microbes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBq_hHJOWy4
Scholarly article no till and cover crops have on microbial populations – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0192953
The potential of microbes in crop management article-
Scholarly article on the relationship between plants and microbes –https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/nph.13312
Good info on soil health – https://soils.vidacycle.com/category/soil-biology/
Scientific paper 2018 regarding environmental impact of our food – https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987
Project Drawdown – https://www.drawdown.org/sectors/food-agriculture-land-use
Permaculture – https://grocycle.com/permaculture-farming/
Biodynamic Ass – https://www.biodynamic.org.uk/
How to set up a chicken farm – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dp-5YAQ4VM
Further reading IPPC level – https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WG1AR5_Chapter06_FINAL.pdf
How quality compost has improved soil and water on Jersey – https://crediblefood.com/
How to improve your Brix levels and why it’s important – http://www.theconsciousfarmer.com/plant-health-sugar-levels/
Insight from The States – https://lachefnet.wordpress.com/category/food-issues/
A key organisation working on Sustainable food in the UK – https://www.sustainweb.org/
Food Ethics Council – https://www.foodethicscouncil.org/
Another great organisation – https://www.slowfood.org.uk/
If you wish to support Global Agroecology – https://www.agroecologyfund.org/about-us
Books available from Groundswell / David’s bookshop – https://www.davids-bookshops.co.uk/groundswell-agriculture.aspx
Books recommended by RegenBen – https://www.regenben.com/regen-ag-library/
Groundswell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj_RgbhJ7XM
Soil loss – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=invUp0SX49g
Dr Christine Jones, amazing facts we should all know – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYRpFqUlK78
Gabe Brown, the Regen King! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEOVLpZrvvU&t=108s