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News update, January 2019: Food, Farming & Countryside Commission

On this page, we share recent news updates  from the RSA’s Food, Farming & Countryside Commission.

As the UK navigates the process of exiting the EU, the RSA’s Food, Farming and Countryside Commission argues that “it is essential to think afresh about where our food comes from, how we support farming and rural communities, and how we invest in the many benefits the countryside provides”.

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.

Sustain’s chief executive Kath Dalmeny is one of the 15 Commissioners and has contributed to several seminars and consultation events over recent months, along with four other Sustain alliance members. The Commission’s progress report Our Common Ground was published in October and will feature in a panel debate at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in January 2019, with five core themes:

  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.

Oxford farmers, customers and policy specialists discuss the future of farming

A group of Oxfordshire farmers and their customers, local businesses and national policy specialists met in October – chaired by Sustain and the Campaign for Real Farming and involving Food, Farming and Countryside Commission researchers – to discuss the future for local farming and the rural economy, the day before Parliament debates the future of UK farming policy and farm subsidies post-Brexit, as outlined in Secretary of State for farming Michael Gove’s draft UK Agriculture Bill.

Published Wednesday 2 January 2019

Good Food Trade Campaign: Campaigning for good trade that benefits people and the planet at home and overseas.

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