News / Sustainable farming policy

Progress update: The RSA's Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Sustain's chief executive Kath Dalmeny sits as a Commissioner on the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission coordinated by the RSA. This page provides a progress update, December 2018.

The publication of the Commissin's interim report 'Our Common Ground' marks the halfway stage of the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission inquiry.

To understand what challenges the food industry, farmers, and the countryside face, the Commission and the support team at the RSA have reviewed hundreds of policy proposals, hosted expert discussions, and some have cycled right round the UK to meet people in their communities.

This interim report takes what the Commission has learnt and sets out the five themes for further work to achieve our ambitious vision for the future of the countryside:   

  1. Meeting our global obligations: in which we connect our changing place in the world with our responsibilities to combat climate change and transform farming systems. Read this chapter online
  2. Securing the value of land: in which we connect mediating the multiple needs and demands on land use with novel financial instruments to make this work. Read this chapter online
  3. Good work for a thriving economy: in which we connect shifting patterns of work in a changing economy with people’s aspirations for meaningful work and rich lives. Read this chapter online
  4. Good food for healthy and flourishing communities: in which we connect the ways that food is grown, produced and eaten, with the effects on people’s health and wellbeing. Read this chapter online
  5. More than money: in which we connect all the resource flows through rural economies with ways to revitalise rural democracy. Read this chapter online

Download the full 'Our Common Ground' report (PDF, 6MB)

Looking forward, 2019 looks set to be another busy year, working towards publication of the Commission's final report in the summer. Activities will include:

  1. Research streams
  2. UK wide engagement, including analysis, publication and celebration of the UK bike tour material
  3. Devolved and local inquiries, which are making good progress
  4. Communications and engagement, with immediate highlights including:
    • A keynote talk by Sir Ian Cheshire, chair of the Commission, at the industry's Oxford Farming Conference (with Caroline Lucas MP) in January 2019
    • A Food, Farming and Countryside Commission panel at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, involving the Chair, RSA and several Commissioners 
    • A film on rural inequalities, to be released to coincide with the House of Lords Select Committee report on the Rural Economy in early March
    • Engagement with political and policy leaders across the UK, through discussions with government non-executive directors, senior civil servants, business and NGO leaders, other think tanks and influencers.

Sustainable farming policy: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

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