As Britain fast approaches a “critical” General Election, the Sustainable Food Trust is calling for a reset of UK food and farming policy.  

Ahead of the General Election on the 12th December, the SFT is urging all UK political parties to prioritise developing an environmentally sustainable and healthy food system in their manifestos.

The SFT says a mainstream shift to sustainable farming systems is urgently needed to tackle the pressing issues of climate change and biodiversity loss, both in the UK and elsewhere.

For decades, intensive agriculture has wreaked havoc with our natural world. Now is the time for all parties to fully recognise the importance of food and farming to public health, our environment and our economy”

The group advocates a a return to mixed farming, including grazing livestock, that would reduce chemical inputs and restore soil health “whilst providing healthy, locally grown food that has been produced within planetary boundaries”.

It wants all parties to include 10 key policies in their 2019 manifestos:

1 Promote sustainable farming practices that function in harmony with nature

2 Support local food systems, including maintaining a national network of local abattoirs

3 Enshrine the polluter pays principle in law to hold polluters to account for any damaging impacts

4 Adopt the precautionary principle into agricultural policy in terms of input safety

5 Commit to ending hunger and guarantee everyone’s right to nutritious food

6 Institute an annual sustainability audit for all farmers who receive funding from the public purse

7 Reward farmers who work to build soil carbon, including through the greater use of grass and ruminants in rotations

8 Improve animal health and contentment and end the routine use of antibiotics in healthy animals

9 Commit to ending agriculture’s negative impact on global warming

10 Increase fairness throughout the food supply chain and avoid lowering production standards and unbalanced trade tariffs

Honor May Eldrige, head of policy at the SFT said: “This is a historic election that will prove critical to the UK’s economic position in Europe and the world. While the most pressing political issue is Brexit, the next UK Government will bring forward legislation that will set the direction of travel for UK farming. For decades, intensive agriculture has wreaked havoc with our natural world. Now is the time for all parties to fully recognise the importance of food and farming to public health, our environment and our economy.”

• The Sustainable Food Trust is a registered charity founded by Patrick Holden. It is working to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food and farming systems that nourish the health of both people and planet

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash