Launch of Food, Farming and Climate Change: How we can feed people and cool the planet
The LWA has published a new policy document “Food, Farming a Climate Change: How we can feed people and cool the planet”
The evidence is clear – we have to change how we feed ourselves now or we will destroy the ability of future generation to have enough to eat.Our food system is responsible for a total of around 30% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. This contribution includes food packaging, waste, haulage, refrigeration and land-use changes overseas for animal feeds and bulk commodities – in addition to direct emissions from UK farms.
This figure is not however unavoidable. Across the UK today thousands of small-scale farmers and foresters are successfully demonstrating that a range of tools – from alternative production models to innovative climate-friendly farming techniques and local supply chains are capable of not only reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint – but also of mitigating the impact of historic emissions. We are showing how farmers and foresters can cool the earth by integrating forests, wetlands, deep pasture, and hedges into their land management systems.
The report lays-out a progressive policy framework that could support both established land workers and a new generation to immediately reduce the impact of UK agriculture on our climate – as well as the policies required to prepare UK consumers for an inevitable transition to low-carbon diets. The report argues for policies which support a transition to “less and better” consumption of animal products, which supports the livelihoods of livestock farmers raising animals on pasture and waste food, while transitioning away from factory farming. We also need support for more fruit and vegetable producers supplying the fresh fruit and vegetables essential to low carbon diets.
Choosing where we buy our food and how it’s produced is one of the most empowering decisions individuals can make in addressing their own carbon footprint, and many are already making those choices in the face of a broken food system. Consumers now need to stand together with farmers in demanding deep political change to support a low carbon, localised food system.
Farmers have always stood up to challenge of feeding the world and are capable of adopting low carbon farming methods to protect healthy soils, water, insects and weather conditions we depend on to feed the future. Foresters protect and manage our valuable forests to capture carbon while providing sustainable energy and building materials.
The evidence and policies outlined in this report provide a roadmap for farmers, foresters, consumers and politicians alike to advocate for a system where everyone has access to an abundance of local food produced in a way that cools the planet.
Jyoti Fernandes, LWA Campaigns Coordinator said:
“A systemic approach is absolutely vital in tackling climate change. We need to create an
ecologically intensive climate-wise localised food system; feeding the world through systems that work with nature, while changing distribution and consumption patterns to reduce the impact of agriculture on land use in other countries.”
“Within this context, we also believe there is a climate case for creating more mixed farms to
achieve a better integration of livestock, horticulture and arable that can support direct to customer local food systems and reduce fertilizer use and manure management emissions though nutrient cycling of composted manures. This all needs to be considered in a strategic land use plan for the UK which balances environmental restoration withfood production from agroecological mixed farms.”