The UK is facing a pivotal moment for the future of agriculture and each of us can help to make sure that local food systems like CSAs are supported in the new policies by contacting your MP now.
As a result of Brexit, the UK is creating its own agricultural policy in the form of the proposed Agriculture Bill. This is a once in a generation opportunity to influence what we want British agriculture to look like for the next 50 to 100 years.
The proposed Bill moves away from the EU system of subsidies for farmers based solely on land area and instead provides financial incentives for improving the environment. While this is an improvement, unfortunately the Bill makes no reference to agroecological practices or local food.
As CSA Network members and supporters interested in promoting sustainable and resilient food systems that are linked to the local community, its important that we make sure our vision for the future is incorporated into the new agricultural policy.
Although the move towards financially rewarding farmers for improving the environment is a step in the right direction for the new Agricultural Bill, it is important that it goes further to promote whole farm systems and affordable local food at the same time. These changes will be key to ensuring that successive governments provide support for initiatives such as CSAs, which strengthen sustainable food production, regenerate the environment, support local economies and provide social benefits to the community.
Two amendments to the Agriculture Bill, one supporting agroecology and the other to support local food, have been proposed and are likely to be debated sometime between 11–17 December. We need as many people as possible to voice their support for these amendments by emailing your MP before they are debated. This is a real opportunity to have a positive impact on UK agriculture for generations to come.