A new report by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission was revealed at this year’s Oxford Real Farming Conference
Agroecological farming alongside nature can provide enough healthy food to feed the future UK population, according to a new report by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission.
The Farming for Change: mapping a route to 2030 report, which was unveiled at the Oxford Real Farming Conference showed with the right enabling conditions, the UK could grow enough food while eliminating synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, making more land available for green and ecological infrastructure and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The system would require a ‘substantial’ change in diet in the UK, with meat, dairy and sugar consumption needing to reduce dramatically whilst fruit, vegetable and pulse consumption increased.
The biggest reductions for meat would be in pig and poultry, to reduce the amount of cereals grown for feed in the UK as well as a move to more mixed farming systems.
Sue Pritchard, FFCC chief executive said the modelling was a ‘fascinating tool’ to understand the implications of a transition to agroecology.
“Perhaps most importantly, agroecology brings people back into the centre of the story - farmers and growers, as well as citizens and communities – for a thriving rural economy and farming system,” she added.
Ben Andrew, a mixed organic farmer in Herefordshire, spoke of the benefits of agroecology to his system, such as how using nature to encourage ladybirds had reduced aphids on the farm.
He added big conventional farmers were now starting to adapt agroecological principles, reducing synthetic inputs.
But he added organic farmers could also learn from conventional farmers, highlighting the precision which was used to keep tight margins in place.