Tuesday, 10 January 2017

What is Farmwel?

Farmwel is helping to generate momentum towards sustainable mainstream agriculture, focussing on the environment, people's livelihoods, and farm animal welfare. 

To cut carbon, methane and other greenhouse gas pollution, we must transform our food systems.  To fight obesity, we must improve food quality and our national diet.  To restore soil quality and biodiversity, so that our land continues to feed us, we must farm with nature and not despite it.  To reduce anti-microbial resistance and farm humanely we must get animals out of monoculture-dependent intensive systems.  To protect communities from extreme weather, we must rethink the shape of our agricultural landscape.

There is a rising fear among key policy-makers in Britain and the EU that the current model of volume-production agriculture is starting to fail, and yet there is little agreement over what the mainstream alternative could look like.  This makes it extremely difficult for politicians to develop a policy narrative for progressive change.

We urgently need coherent pathways to ensure economic resilience throughout the necessary transition.  We need a systematic approach to adjustments in farm policy and to the funding of food production and land management.  We should champion progressive change by food corporates just as much as we celebrate action by smaller businesses.  And we must make a direct appeal to young farmers to plan and produce for the future instead of repeating the cheap oil and subsidy-driven mistakes of the past.

Using Farmwel's goals for secure and sustainable food we will help communicate good practice, build a robust case for change, and lobby politicians, industry, and other decision-makers to influence progress.

In the UK, as we prepare to leave the European Union, decisions will be taken about the future shape of UK agriculture.  Structures that govern food production will be reviewed and transposed for an independent Britain.  This provides a unique opportunity to influence the shape of mainstream food production in the UK economy.   Then, if we can make progress at home, we may also be able to export knowledge and experience to other economies.

Farmwel's Goals for Secure and Sustainable Food
For all farmed food, produced on land or at sea.

Farming families
- All farms, on land or at sea, are profitable
- A good life for all farm workers
- A vibrant industry provides opportunities for new entrants

Communities
- Diets are healthy and diverse
- Farms contribute to community life and rural development
- Every farm improves the climate resilience of its surrounding landscape

Farm animals and nature
- No routine behavioural mutilations
- Every farm animal has the freedom to express natural behaviour
- Biodiversity is increasing on all farms
- No routine use of antibiotics

Environment
- Farms have healthy soil and clean water
- Farms are net exporters of energy
- Farms are waste and carbon neutral
- Farms have good water management and are weather-resistant

Framework
- Financial support is targeted to deliver sustainable food production
- Legislation protects the welfare of all farm animals
- Farm system labelling on all products
- Outcome-based assessments are required as a route to market

The Farmwel project is informed by the experience of FAI Farms.

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