Sustain’s sustainable farming policy activities are led by campaign coordinator Vicki Hird. Vicki is an award-winning author, expert, strategist and senior manager who has been working on environment, food and farming issues for over 25 years.

Vicki has launched many major food and environment campaigns, from local to global in scope, has blogged frequently and published numerous reports and articles on the sustainability of food systems. She has an academic background in pest management and is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and the RSA. Vicki is on the board of Pesticides Action Network, and the Keo Foundation, was previously chair of the Eating Better Alliance and has sat on numerous government advisory groups over the years.

Sustainable Farming Working Party

Sustain runs a Sustainable Farming Working Party to share thinking and experience, exploring policy options and networking opportunities as well as setting up research projects. Let us know if you want to be involved and let us know of any related work you are doing. Current members of the Working Party include:

  • Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics
  • Banana Link
  • Campaign for Real Farming (also organises the Oxford Real Farming Conference)
  • Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • Centre for Agriculture, Food & Environmental Management (CAFEM), University of Hertfordshire
  • Centre for Food Policy, City University London
  • Client Earth
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network UK
  • Country Trust
  • Eating Better Alliance
  • Ecological Land Cooperative
  • Fairtrade Foundation
  • Family Farmers Association
  • Farm and Wildlife Advisory Group SW
  • Feedback: The global food waste campaign
  • Food Ethics Council
  • Food Foundation
  • Food Research Collaboration, City University London
  • Forum for the Future
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Growing Communities and Better Food Traders
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Kindling Trust
  • Landworkers Alliance
  • National Federation of Women's Institutes
  • National Trust
  • Natural England (observer)
  • Nature Friendly Farming Network
  • New Economics Foundation
  • Nourish Scotland
  • Organic Farmers & Growers
  • Compassion in World Farming
  • Organic Research Centre
  • Organic Trade Board
  • OrganicLea
  • Pasture Fed Livestock Association
  • People Need Nature
  • Pesticide Action Network UK and Pesticide Collaboration
  • Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts
  • RSPB: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Shared Assets
  • Soil Association
  • Sustainable Food Trust
  • Sustainable Soils Alliance
  • The Agrivillages International
  • The Orchard Project
  • Trade Justice Movement
  • Traidcraft Exchange
  • Groceries Code Action Network
  • Unite: The union
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • War on Want
  • Wildlife & Countryside Link
  • WWF-UK

We also work with farming bodies such as the National Farmers Union, the CLA (Country Landowners Association), National Farmers Union Scotland and the Tenant Farmers Association, usually on specific collaborative initiatives such as the Groceries Code Action Network (co-founded by Sustain and Traidcraft Exchange), and joint letters, media work or statements of common concern.

Sustain is also working with…

Sustain is also actively supporting several independent networks, alliances and activities to address important issues for health and sustainability in farming practice, including:

The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, run by a partnership of Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain, aiming to reduce the overuse of antibiotics on farms. Sustain sits on the steering group of this initiative.

The Eating Better Alliance, helping people move towards eating less and better meat and more food that’s better for us and the planet. Sustain sits on the board of this independent alliance.

The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, coordinated by the RSA, established to consider how we can achieve a safe, secure, inclusive food and farming system for the UK, a flourishing rural economy and a sustainable and accessible countryside. Sustain’s chief executive Kath Dalmeny is one of the Commissioners.

The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, coordinated by the Food Foundation, championing policies to increase the production and consumption of health-promoting fruit and vegetables. 

The Food Research Collaboration: Coordinated by the Centre for Food Policy at City University London, facilitates joint working by academics and civil society to improve the UK food system, including running seminars involving academics, civil society, policy-makers and industry. A key focus for this work over the next few years will be Brexit, and co-creating better governance for food, farming, fishing and trade. Sustain has instigated or contributed to several research initiatives and sits on the advisory group for the collaboration.

Greener UK is a group of 13 major environmental organisations, with a combined public membership of 7.9 million (some of which organisations are also members of the Sustain alliance). They are united in the belief that leaving the EU is a pivotal moment to restore and enhance the UK’s environment. Sustain sits on several working groups of Greener UK and Wildlife & Countryside Link (see below) and has a close working relationship on policy development, advocacy and communications work, in relation to post-Brexit environmental policy.

The Groceries Code Action Network calling for extension of the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to protect farmers from unfair trading practices. Sustain co-founded the Groceries Code Action Network, which includes: Traidcraft Exchange (which coordinates the network), Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union; Bananalink; British Independent Fruit Growers Association; Fairtrade Foundation; Feedback: The global food waste campaign; Food Ethics Council; Food Foundation; Global Justice Now; National Farmers Union of Scotland; National Federation of Women’s Institutes; Oxfam GB; Sustain; Tenant Farmers Association; Think Global; War on Want.

The Sustainable Soils Alliance is a partnership of farming organisations, businesses, NGOs, applied science and academia working together to reverse the current crisis in soil health and restore our soils to health within one generation. Sustain is working with the Sustainable Soils Alliance to ensure that the new UK Agriculture Bill, environmental policy and the Environmental Land Management Scheme all help to reverse the soils crisis for food security, climate mitigation and flood protection.

The Trade Justice Movement is a UK coalition calling for trade rules that work for people and planet. Sustain is supporting the Trade Justice Movement’s call for UK trade policy to support trade justice, with the rules weighted to ensure healthy and sustainable outcomes for ordinary people and the environment.

Wildlife and Countryside Link brings together 46 environment and animal protection organisations to advocate for the conservation and protection of wildlife, countryside and the marine environment. Taken together they have the support of over eight million people in the UK and manage over 750,000 hectares of land. Sustain sits on several working groups of Greener UK and Wildlife & Countryside Link (see below) and has a close working relationship on policy development, advocacy and communications work, in relation to post-Brexit environmental policy.


Sustain’s work on sustainable farming policy is supported by:

  • Friends Provident Foundation
  • Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
  • John Ellerman Foundation
  • Lush Foundation
  • Network for Social Change

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

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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