Our press releases

See below for our recent press releases. Please contact LWApress@riseup.net with any questions. We are always happy to help with stories, articles, films and interviews relating to our work.

Landworkers’ Alliance launch New Entrants policy position paper

Press Release
For immediate release: 01.08.17

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The Landworkers’ Alliance New Entrants policy paper announces a number of targeted policies to support New Entrants in post-Brexit UK agriculture. The proposals include increased funding for training and apprenticeships, a new-entrant capital grant scheme and an immediate halt to the sell-off of council owned farm estates. As an agricultural union representing a young and emerging demographic the LWA is acutely aware that the current subsidy regime undermines the ability of a new generation to gain a foothold in farming.

Since the introduction of area-payments in 2005 the price of farmland has more than doubled1, 35,000 farmers have left the land2 and the average age of UK farmers has risen to over 603. Although there has been a welcome resurgence of students enrolling in the UK’s agricultural colleges and universities over recent years, the challenges of accessing land, skills and capital have ensured that very few first-generation farmers have been able to successfully enter the industry.

‘It’s a common misconception that there is a lack of motivation and ambition among a younger generation to engage with farming as a livelihood, however, for a growing number of young people farming represents a positive response to the challenges of climate change, globalisation and social inequality.’ says LWA spokesperson Jyoti Fernandes. ‘As we enter a period of unprecedented uncertainty regarding both UK agricultural policy and food security it is essential that we recognise and encourage this demographic to bring new ideas and innovation to the agriculture sector.’

‘The policy proposals we are announcing today are based on successful and established models of new-entrant support already operating across Scotland and elsewhere in Europe. These policies have not only facilitated a significant increase in the numbers of first-generation farmers entering the industry but have also led to improvements in efficiency and productivity as new entrants bring new ideas and innovative thinking.’

The LWA has recently launched a 20-page manifesto; Making Food Sovereignty a Reality: Recommendations for Post-Brexit Agricultural Policy; that outlines a clear vision for delivering high quality food to local, regional & national markets while supporting truly resilient farming.

Download Landworkers Alliance New Entrants policy paper

Download Making Food Sovereignty a reality: post-Brexit Agriculture Policy

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Press Contact: Ed Hamer: 07858 381539 Ι Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754

e: landworkersalliance@gmail.com    Ι w: landworkersalliance.org.uk
t: @LandworkersUK   Ι  f: @landworkersalliance

REFERENCES

1: DEFRA (2013) The Common Agricultural Policy after 2013. UK Parliament Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report: https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmenvfru/671/67104.htm

2:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/557993/AUK-2015-05oct16.pdf

3:https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/557993/AUK-2015-05oct16.pdf


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Small-scale, agroecological farms attract UK workers, produce high yields of vegetables and deliver multiple environmental and social benefits.

For immediate release: 10.07.2017

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The “A Matter of Scale” report, published today, highlights how a diverse and vibrant sector of small farms is providing employment, attracting new entrants and incubating entrepreneurs. A survey of 69 holdings of 20ha and less, undertaken by the Landworkers’ Alliance in conjunction with the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University, provides a preliminary insight into the diversity, productivity, financial viability and multifunctional benefits offered by such farms. The report is accompanied by five short films about key themes arising from the research.

A recent BBC survey revealed that “over 70% of British growers say they would reduce their UK operations if access to key labour markets is restricted post-Brexit”. However, the “A Matter of Scale” report offers an alternative vision for the future of UK horticulture. Author of the study, Rebecca Laughton says, “Many young people are attracted to the more varied, meaningful and skilled work offered by small scale organic and agroecological holdings, as opposed to industrial farm work which is perceived to be monotonous. Aspiring new entrants are motivated to learn about systems which address environmental challenges such as climate change, soil depletion and biodiversity loss, and prefer the friendlier atmosphere of small farms and market gardens, where they can learn a variety of skills”. The report shows how organic market gardens, many of which are less than 5ha (the threshold below which Basic Farm Payments are not currently available), are able to produce yields of certain crops that exceed those of non-organic growers.

A dramatic increase in the number of small, agroecological market gardens, especially in peri-urban areas, could help reduce the trade gap for fruit and vegetables, while providing pleasant and meaningful all year-round employment for local people and a thriving. Furthermore, respondents in the survey suggested that the health and environmental advantages of vegetables and fruit being produced near to point of consumption and sold directly include freshness, less waste and less energy used in transport. Other key findings include:

Compared to average UK farm incomes the ‘A Matter of Scale’ (AMOS) sample were performing well financially. 78% of the sample was receiving no farm subsidies, and subsidies made up less than 20% of the income for 19% of those who were receiving subsidies.

Most of the farms were adding value either by direct marketing or processing their produce into cheese, juices or preserves. Vegetable box schemes, farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture schemes enable better incomes, while building customer trust through provision of fresh and sustainably produced food.

Barriers to productivity included: lack of capital to invest in equipment and infrastructure, meaning the efficiency of some holdings was less than optimal; affordability of land and accommodation; and lack of technology suitable for small scale farmers.

Author of the study, Rebecca Laughton says, “Until now, little research has been conducted into the productivity and viability of small-scale, agroecological farms in the UK. This study shows that they deserve closer attention by both policy makers and academics as they simultaneously address many of the challenges facing twenty-first century food production, including UK provision of vegetables and fruit, fulfilling employment opportunities, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and food waste, and the re-building of rural communities.”

Click here to read the full report.

Click here to download fact sheets from the report.

Click here to watch short films on the findings in the report.

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Press Contact: Rebecca Laughton 01308 897698 Ι Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754

e: landworkersalliance@gmail.com Ι w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

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The Landworkers’ Alliance welcome Secretary of State’s support for GMO-labelling and commitment to reduce area payments

For immediate release: 3.7.17

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The Landworkers’ Alliance welcomes the announcement made by Environment Secretary Michael Gove that he will oppose concessions on imports of  unlabelled-GMO products, rBGH beef and chlorinated chicken into the UK post-Brexit. The Secretary was asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday 2nd July whether he was ‘absolutely clear that our environmental and food standards would not be loosened in any way as a result of leaving the EU and doing free trade deals with other countries, including America’.

Mr Gove went on to confirm for the first time that direct payments to the UK’s largest landowners will be reduced following this parliament.  The Secretary’s announcement comes days after a report released by Greenpeace UK identified that one in five of the UK’s top 100 CAP  recipients also feature in the Sunday Times Rich List.

Ed Hamer, Landworkers’ Alliance spokesperson said: ‘We’re delighted that the Secretary of State has set out his position so clearly regarding some of our trade  policy concerns. We’re also encouraged that Mr Gove is demonstrating his commitment to high animal welfare and “quality” in both UK food and farming.’

‘The Landworkers’ Alliance represents many of the 35,000 CAP recipients in the UK who received less collectively than the £50m paid in direct support to the largest 100 recipients in 2016. We have been campaigning for a number of years for farm support to be allocated more effectively to a broader range  of farming models. This announcement is a welcome indication that the Secretary and his Department have indeed been listening and are engaging with the wider farming community.’

The Landworkers’ Alliance  has recently launched a 20-page manifesto; Making Food Sovereignty a Reality: Recommendations for Post-Brexit Agricultural Policy; that outlines a clear vision for delivering high quality food tol ocal, regional & national markets while supporting truly resilient farming.

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Link to Greenpeace Energydesk report.

Link to Making Food Sovereignty a Reality: Post Brexit Agricultural Policy

Press Contact: Ed Hamer: 07858 381539 Ι Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754

e:landworkersalliance@gmail.com    Ι    w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

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Landworkers’ Alliance comment on newly-appointed Secretary of State

For immediate release: 13.6.17

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The Landworkers’ Alliance welcomes the announcement from newly-appointed Environment Secretary Michael Gove that he intends to ‘put farmers at the heart of policy making’. Despite the Secretary’s limited experience in the environment, food or rural affairs sectors he has made it clear that he is determined to engage farmers more directly with Defra’s policy making process.

We also welcome the Secretary’s announcement on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that he wants the opportunity to listen to the whole of the farming sector. Mr Gove said: ‘I’m hoping to talk to the National Farmers’ Union and others, because I think that the right approach to take as Secretary of State in a new department is to exercise appropriate humility and listen and learn.’

Bearing this in mind it is hoped that the Secretary will not mistake ‘consulting with the NFU’ as ‘consulting with the whole of the farming sector’. Ed Hamer, LWA spokesperson says: ‘As we enter the most significant period of change in UK agriculture for a generation it is essential that the Secretary of State recognizes and engages with the breadth of agri-culture practiced across the country.’

‘As an emerging farming union supported by a younger demographic the LWA represents a growing number of stakeholders in the Brexit consultations. While we share the NFU’s position on a handful of key policies our members also have contrasting views, particularly on direct payments, commodities and sustainable intensification. We would like to take the new Secretary of State at his word and welcome the opportunity to present our recently published manifesto to him directly.’

The LWA has recently launched a 20-page manifesto; Making Food Sovereignty a Reality: Recommendations for Post-Brexit Agricultural Policy; that outlines a clear vision for delivering high quality food to local, regional & national markets while supporting truly resilient farming.

Read the document here

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Landworkers’ Alliance post-Brexit Policy launch –

A Place at The Table

For immediate release: 21.04.17

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The Landworkers’ Alliance will be launching our post-Brexit policy recommendations outside Defra’s offices -17 Smith Square, London – at 1.00pm on Friday 21st April. The launch will feature a dining table promoting the high-quality fresh produce of our members to highlight the need for small-scale and family farmers to be offered a ‘place at the table’ in upcoming negotiations over the future of UK agriculture policy.

The launch will feature the release of a comprehensive 18-page report outlining the LWA’s key policy proposals for re-orientating agricultural support to deliver high quality food to UK consumers while building an environmentally, socially and economically resilient farming industry. Embargoed copies of the report will be available from Wednesday 19th April on request.

LWA policy spokesperson Ed Hamer says ‘The Landworkers’ Alliance has been campaigning for the past five years for greater recognition of the role small-scale and family farmers play in feeding the country. The UK’s exit from the Common Agricultural Policy provides the most significant opportunity in a generation to reverse the inequalities of area-based payments and replace them with a truly progressive policy framework that genuinely supports more farmers and better food.’

‘As we leave Europe and the opacity of the CAP behind we’re confident that UK taxpayers will no longer tolerate farmers being paid simply for owning land. We believe the farm support budget could be targeted much more effectively in providing the research and infrastructure necessary to enable farmers to supply quality produce to local markets. This model does not depend on UK consumers paying more for high quality local food – it does however depend on more effective regulation of the industry to ensure farmers receive a greater share of the food pound.’

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Ed Hamer will be available for press interviews at the launch from 1.00-2.00pm on Friday 21st April. There will be speeches and press photo opportunities from 1.15-1.45pm

 

Press Contact: Ed Hamer: 07858 381539 Ι Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754

e: landworkersalliance@gmail.com   Ι   w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

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More Farmers, Better Food – A framework for British LWA logoAgricultural Policy

For immediate release: 01.08.16

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The Landworkers’ Alliance today announces eight key recommendations that will form the foundation of our post-Brexit representations to Defra and the Government’s Environmental Audit Committee.

The task of creating a post-Brexit ‘British Agricultural Policy’ that support producers, protects the environment and prioritizes access to healthy, nutritious food for all is a complex but essential one. It represents a great opportunity if the government is ready to listen to the needs and desires of all stakeholders and put in place a truly long-term plan for resilience, equality and justice in food and farming.

Our 8-point policy recommendations can be viewed in detail here:

And are summarized below:

  1. Focus on National Food Security.
  2. Direct public money to high quality food and good farming.
  3. End the discrimination against small farms.
  4. Create and maintain agricultural employment.
  5. Improve environmental and welfare standards .
  6. Invest in farmer-led research for resilient solutions.
  7. Build markets that work for farmers.
  8. Democratize agricultural policy making.

Over the next 6 months the LWA will carry out an in-depth consultation among our members to draw up comprehensive policy proposals that addresses the needs of food producers in the UK. We will also work with other organizations to draw up a framework for a ‘Peoples’ Food Policy’ that can address the systemic inequalities and misguided policies currently afflicting the food and farming sectors.

Adam Payne, a spokesperson for the LWA said: ‘The UK’s small-scale, ecological and family farms are an amazing resource that nourish a huge amount of our rural culture, and offer us a pathway towards a more resilient and just food system. However, in the past, the UK’s farming strategies have undermined domestic production of healthy, affordable food and left many small farms unfairly disadvantaged in the market place. We are looking forward to dialogue with the government to ensure that post-brexit agricultural policy is more equitable, more resilient and more just.’

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The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

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Press Contact: Ed Hamer: 07858 381539/ Adam Payne: 07817 320504

e: landworkersalliance@gmail.com

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

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Landworkers’ Alliance demand recognition for small-farms in post Brexit policies

For immediate release: 27.6.16 logo web

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It is with some concern that The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) looks forward at the possibilities for British food and agricultural policy post-Brexit. The task will require huge effort and ingenuity on behalf of political decision makers if it is to support producers, protect the environment and prioritize access to healthy, nutritious food for all.

As a national union of small-scale, traditional and family farmers, The Landworkers’ Alliance is determined to ensure that the voices of smaller-scale producers are included in post-Brexit policy.

The UK’s small-scale and family farms are at the heart of our rural culture and communities; they create employment, protect cherished landscapes and provide a huge amount of the food we eat. However, under Defra’s implementation of the CAP, many small farms were unfairly disadvantaged. The Landworkers’ Alliance is ready to work with government to unsure that this discrimination does not continue under national agricultural policy.

In light of this, The Landworkers’ Alliance calls on Defra to commit now to supporting a multifunctional, diverse and ecologically sustainable food and agricultural strategy in the coming years.

Adam Payne, a farmer in Dorset said: ‘We want Defra to take this opportunity to redesign agricultural policy for the better – now is the moment to reverse the ongoing discrimination by ensuring that farmers, no matter what acreage they farm, are equally supported in policy, and able to operate on a level playing field, with protection from global price volatility and the aggressive behavior of distributors and supermarkets’

Ed Hamer, a grower in Devon said: ‘By highlighting to the public that the average UK farmer receives 50 percent of their income in subsidies the referendum campaign has shone a welcome spotlight on the inherently biased nature of our food system. We would like to ensure that when a national food policy is finally adopted it will no longer undermine the livelihoods of those of us who choose to farm outside that framework – but will instead represent a truly balanced and progressive future for farming culture.’

We now expect a period of uncertainty over the next 12-24 months as Defra reorientates its agenda and priorities towards a national food and agricultural policy. Throughout this period the LWA will use our lobbying opportunites to raise the profile and the concerns of our membership in an effort to achieve a truly representative national agriculture agenda.

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The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

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Press Contact: Ed Hamer: 07858 381539/ Adam Payne: 07817 320504

e: landworkersalliance@gmail.com

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

Landworkers’ Alliance join the Farming to London march

For immediate release: 17.3.16

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The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) are announcing official support for the ‘Farming to London’ march taking place on Wednesday 23rd March 2016. LWA members will be travelling to London from across the UK to take part in the demonstration and to show solidarity with the UK’s wider farming community whose livelihoods have been undermined by policies of the Conservative government.

“We commend Farmers For Action (FFA) for calling this demonstration to highlight the inequality of the UK’s agriculture industry” says LWA spokesperson Ed Hamer. “The Conservative government’s drive for ‘sustainable intensification’ has focused public support on intensive technologies and markets, leading to commodification and price volatility and directly undermining the livelihoods of thousands of small, traditional and family farms across the country”.

“We would instead like to see progressive agricultural policy combined with market regulations that allow farmers to maintain traditional farming skills and knowledge whilst also being able to earn a livelihood from their land. We should not be faced with the single choice of ‘getting big or getting out’. We stand in solidarity with the majority of the UK’s farmers in recognizing the social and environmental assets provided by a thriving rural economy”.

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

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Press Contact: Ed Hamer: 07858 381539/ Adam Payne: 07817 320504
e: landworkersalliance@gmail.com

Notes: The Farming to London March is organized by Farmers For Action: http://farmersforaction.org/farming-to-london-march/index 

Micro-Dairy conference shows viable incomes from small herds and direct sales

For Immediate Release 27.02.2016LWA logo small

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This week Monkton Wyld Court, home to one of the oldest continually operating micro-dairies in the country, hosted a packed ‘micro dairying’ conference. Over 2 days, 50 dairy farmers from around the country gathered to discuss ways in which farmers can survive in the current dairy crisis.

Discussions focused around presentations by farmers who have successfully built dairy businesses based on herds of 10 – 40 cows. In each case, success depended on reclaiming the margin from middle men by finding ways to sell high quality milk directly to customers. As well as increasing sales prices, these micro-dairies have managed to cut production costs by making better use of pasture, managing breeds for resilience over yield, and often added value by processing.

Jyoti Fernandes, a micro-dairy producer and spokesperson for the Landworkers’ Alliance said: ‘In a climate where milk buyers are paying less than the cost of production we have to reclaim the margin. Dairy has traditionally been the heart of many rural communities; we have find ways to maintain these businesses for the sake of a vibrant rural economy. It has been great to see dairy farmers from all scales gathered to discuss solutions while the government does nothing to prevent farms closing down’.

Peter Turner, who runs a 100 cow family dairy is considering cutting down to a smaller herd. He said: ‘We are running at far below the cost of production but can’t the farm go. It has been in the family for generations and means too much to us. We are now looking at models like milk vending machines to sell directly to customers that will allow us to get something more like 50p per liter, which will cover our cost of production. The number of dairy farmers has dropped from 32 000 in 2008 to 9000 now – we urgently need action to prevent more farms going out of business’

Press Contact – Jyoti Fernandes – 07875849754

Market regulation not free trade: Dairy farmers from India and UK discuss solutions to the dairy crisis in Oxford Town Hall

For Immediate Release 06.01.2016LWA logo small

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The Landworkers’ Alliance will be hosting small-scale dairy producers from the UK and India at 9.00am on Thursday 7th January as part of the Oxford Real Farming Conference to discuss the current dary crisis; the false solutions represented by free trade; and the answers that farmers’ unions are proposing.

The UK dairy industry is in a state of ongoing crisis with the prices paid to farmers far below the cost of production. Instead of guaranteeing a fair price for dairy farmers however, the government’s response has been to announce a strategy for increasing the export of milk products to Asia.

The target for this milk has been China and Russia, but the export of milk to Russia has been banned in the sanctions and China has started to increase its own milk production in an attempt to supply the Russian market. Therefore the looming new export market is India – home of the world’s strongest “people’s milk” industry. The EU-India Free Trade Agreement, currently under negotiation, seeks to remove tariffs on European dairy exports to India.

Kannaiyan Subramaniam, a dairy farmer from Tamil Nadu, India, and representative of the South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers movements (SICCFM) and La Via Campesina (LVC) said:

The corporate controlled European dairy exports to India and the global south have the potential to wipe out small scale milk producers from the planet. We need more regulation on production and a reduction of subsidies in developed countries to ensure good livelihoods for peasant farmers.

Jyoti Fernandes, a small-scale dairy farmer from Dorset and representative of the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) and European Coordination of Via Campesina (ECVC)

No only will these free trade agreements destroy the livelihoods of 90 million Indian dairy farmers, it will severely impact the livelihoods of small scale dairy farmers in Europe by forcing us into competition on a volatile international market. We need a guaranteed fair price and protection of domestic markets rather than export strategies and free trade.

More information:

The majority of milk production in India is carried out by small-scale, often landless farmers, who get a large share of the total price paid by consumers so it offers many of India’s farmers a way out of poverty. The Indian dairy sector is the major source of income for an estimated 90 million people.

The EU-India Free Trade Agreement negotiations were launched in 2007, but are not yet finalised. One of the barriers to completion of the FTA is India’s opposition to reducing tariffs on dairy products – which the European Dairy Association (EDA) and the EU dairy trade association (Eucolait) have been lobbying in the negotiations to put tariffs down to near zero levels.

The Indian government is currently imposing tariffs on imported milk products to protect India’s thriving dairy industry. If the Indian dairy market, targeted by EU dairy producers, were to lower tariffs on agricultural and dairy products would have serious implications for Indian dairy farmers because their products risk competitive pressures from cheap EU imports of powdered milk from large scale dairy farms, which the EU heavily subsidises and protects.

What is up for discussion is how the global trade in milk and the price volatility associated with the global milk trade impacts the livelihoods of small dairy farms in Europe. We would like to discuss how the UK government and the EU can work to protect small-scale dairy farmers across Europe through more market regulation to protect farmers from price volatility on the global market. We are particularly interested in thinking about how farmers can be assured of a price per litre for milk that covers the costs of production and helps the industry to thrive.

Press contacts:

Jyoti Fernandes and Kannaiyan Subramaniam can be reached on: 07875849754

Presentations and interviews: 9-10am 07.01.2016 in the Old Library – Oxford Town Hall

Equality in the Countryside: A rural manifesto for the parlimentary opposition

For immediate release: 06.01.2016LWA logo small

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The Landworkers’ Alliance and The Land magazine have joined forces to produce a rural manifesto which aims to challenge the elitism that dominates rural policy. The manifesto is also supported by the Family Farmers Association.

The manifesto will be launched today Wednesday 6th January at 1.00pm in the Old Library of Oxford Town Hall at the Oxford Real Farming Conference. It includes 46 action points, on matters such a housing, land ownership, agriculture and rural employment. These all have the common aim of making Britain’s rural land and resources more accessible to a wider constituency of people. The full manifesto can be downloaded here:

The manifesto is aimed primarily at the progressive parliamentary opposition. Simon Fairlie of The Land magazine stated:

“With a reinvigorated Labour opposition, and a body of Scottish Nationalists committed to land reform, we are now in a better position to challenge the  orthodoxy that has held sway under the influence of the Country Land and Business  Association, the National Farmers’ Union, and Scottish Land and Estates.”

Rebecca Laughton of the Landworkers’ Alliance stated:

”For decades,  the number of farms and the number of farmworkers have declined remorselessy, while the cost of rural housing has become increasingly unaffordable. It is time we reversed these trends, and it is not rocket science to do so.”

A number of the action points are reproduced below .

The full manifesto,  including original illustrations by Clifford Harper is available here.

For more information please contact:

Simon Fairlie of The Land magazine: 01297 561359 chapter7@tlio.org.uk

Ed Hamer of the Landworker’s Alliance: 07858 381539 edhamer@riseup.net

The Oxford Real Farming Conference is held at Oxford Town Hall on 6-7 January. The manifesto’s launch will be at 1 pm on 6 January in the Old Library http://www.oxfordrealfarmingconference.org/

A SAMPLE OF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION FROM THE MANIFESTO

  • The Land Registry should not be privatized. The register of who owns which land should be completed, and made easily and freely accessible  on line. A cadastral map for each municipality should be made publicly available at council offices, as it is in countries such as France and Spain.
  • The sell-off of county farms should be halted  (except where county farmland can be sold for development and the proceeds used to acquire more or better land). Local authorities should be re-empowered to acquire land for rent to small-scale farmers and new entrants where there is a proven need.
  • Common Agricultural Policy direct subsidies should be capped at €150,000 per individual farmer, releasing an estimated £4million. The ceiling should be lowered progessively over time to a level that supports a wider range of thriving family farms.
  • Much organically produced food and animal feed is not labelled as such because the costs of certification are too high for small-scale producers. The burden of labelling and certification should instead be borne by farmers who employ chemicals or other ecologically suspect practices, rather than by organic farmers. In other words, food products that have been produced using artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or genetically modified materials should be clearly labelled as such.
  • Increase investment in council housing and social housing in villages.
  • Measures should be taken to ensure that recently introduced  government support for self-build housing is focussed on affordable housing, and not luxury housing.
  • All  rural local authorities to set targets within their area for the reduction of carbon emissions through renewable energy generation, including solar, wind and micro-hydro — especially community schemes; and through energy saving measures such as insulation of buildings.
  • Support should be provided for the creation of “village service stations” in rural settlements that combine retail provision of food and essential goods with post-office and banking services, car-hire and minibus services, etc
  • Include land management (horticulture, arable crops, animal husbandry, forestry etc) as a subject at secondary schools on a par with academic subjects.
  • Reintroduce the fuel duty escalator, a ratcheted annual increase of carbon tax on petrol and diesel, including red diesel, with the proceeds earmarked for public transport provision.

Landworkers’ Alliance calls for milk price regulation, a ceiling on the size of dairy farms, and a more localized dairy sector.

For immediate release – 12.08.2015LWA logo

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In the light of the current collapse in milk prices the Landworkers’ Alliance has issued the following policy statement.

The Landworkers’ Alliance supports the protests against the collapse in milk prices organized by Farmers For Action in Britain, and by numerous farming organizations throughout Europe, including Via Campesina.

Many members of the Landworkers Alliance who produce milk and dairy products  are not affected by the collapse in prices because they process and sell their milk directly through local outlets.  However the LWA wishes to see a thriving mainstream dairy industry based on small-scale family farms, and supports measures necessary to protect such farms from the vagaries of the global market.

Simon Fairlie, who runs a micro-dairy in Dorset and is LWA’s spokesman for dairy issues, stated:”Today’s average sized dairy farm with 133 cows produces milk with a retail value of about three quarters of a million pounds. It is a staggering indictment of our economic system that we can’t even pay these farmers a living wage.”

The industry body Dairy UK states that “Volatility is an inherent feature of the dairy industry. (1) We disagree. Volatility  is an inherent feature of a globalized free market, which is why dairy farmers need to be protected by an agreed form  of price regulation.

The Landworkers Alliance opposes the strategy,  supported by the House of Commons Parliamentary Select Committee on Dairy Prices and by the National Farmer’s Union (NFU), of targeting export markets for dairy produce in  regions such as Russia, Latin America, India and Africa. A policy of dumping surplus milk produce on poorer countries will cause further gluts in supply and exacerbate market volatility. It will also threaten the livelihoods of millions of small-scale dairy producers in countries that are less well  equipped to compete on a global market.

In particular we condemn the approach of the NFU which has argued “for the market to be liberalized” and has advised the government that there has been “an artificially high milk price within the EU, which has discouraged exports.”  (2) . The rock bottom milk prices which result from liberalization afford tiny margins per litre which can only be attained by industrial mega-dairies, whose proliferation  will signal  the end for the family dairy farms.

The LWA  advocates the progressive relocalization of the milk industry. Milk is produced almost everywhere in the UK, yet it is currently shipped hundreds of miles around the country to centralized processing depots, wholesale depots and supermarkets. This results in  pointless and unsustainable transport and cross-haulage, concentration of the milk processing sector amongst a handful of powerful corporations,  and a lowering of the quality of fresh produce which has been partly responsible for a growing public backlash against milk and dairy products.

The LWA therefore calls for:

  • The re-establishment of a body, similarly to the Milk Marketing Board, but adapted to modern conditions. This body would guarantee  a stable price for milk;  ensure the same price was paid for milk whether it went to high value end products or low value end products; and have the power to impose tariffs on imports of any milk and dairy products which  are already produced in sufficient quantities in the UK.
  •  Recognition of  the right of countries such as India to protect their dairy industry from dumping, for example by exempting dairy products from free trade agreements with the EU.
  • A ceiling on the size of dairy farms. The LWA wishes to see the European campaign against “1000-Cow Factories” extended to the UK.
  • Government support for all measures that enhance the local distribution of milk and milk products, including milk delivery rounds using returnable bottles, vending machines, and on-farm processing of cheese, yoghurt and other products.
  • The formation of a Campaign for Real Milk, that would do for the dairy industry what the Campaign for Real Ale  has done for the brewing industry — stimulate the proliferation of thousands of small-scale local producers supplying a high quality product.

REFERENCES

(1)  Graham Ruddick, “Farming unions call for ‘seismic change’ in way food is sold in Britain”,  Guardian, 10 Aug 2015)

(2)  Evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Dairy Prices, Jan 2015)

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Simon Fairlie, chapter7@tlio.org.uk;  01297 561359

 

LWA response to Food Strategy

For immediate release – 02.08.2015LWA logo

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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recently started drawing up a long-term strategy for food and farming. While the Landworker’s Alliance (LWA) agrees that a strategic approach is needed to address the challenges facing food and farming, we are extremely concerned that small-scale and family farmers have been excluded from the process. It is essential that Defra recognise the central role that small-scale and family farmers play in UK food and farming, and responds directly to their needs.

The LWA argues that we cannot create a sustainable future for food within the industrial framework that Defra is currently strengthening. Instead we need a National Food Policy based on food sovereignty principles, that puts power into the hands of people to create a more just and equitable food system. The strategy must focus on providing farmers with viable livelihoods and achieving self sufficiency in food while addressing the key challenges of climate change, soil degradation, an ageing farming population and a lack of access to land and training for new entrants.

Tracy Adams, a farmer and LWA member said:

The current milk crisis highlights the contradictory approach this food strategy seems to be taking. Milk prices are well below the cost of production and falling further, dairy farmers are being forced out of the industry and Defra are focussing on exports rather than securing viable livelihoods for farmers! The primary aim of agriculture in Britain must be to feed our population with a healthy, balanced diet and you can’t do that without farmers. At a time when 45% of our vegetables and 90% of our fruit are imported it is crazy to focus on developing export strategies rather than increasing domestic production.

LWA and Defra do share common goals. Providing more opportunities for young people to develop farming skills and increasing procurement of British produce in schools and hospitals are two examples. What sets LWA apart is its commitment to putting the needs of people above the desire for profit.

We call on Defra to engage with the LWA as official representatives of small-scale and family farmers in the UK. Defra has the opportunity to show that it is not the puppet of industry, but committed to a democratic debate about the future of our food system.

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina that represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European Parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends

______________________________________________________

Press Contacts:

In the UK: Landworkers’ Alliance Press Contact: 07951 060 409
(Overseas + 44 7951 060 409)

e: LWApress@riseup.net
w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

For information on LWA and an overview of our Policy Demands, download ‘Feeding the Future’ from our website: https://landworkersalliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/feeding-future.jpg

Farming manifestos fail to address core issues

For immediate release – 06.05.2015LWA logo

Starts:

On the eve of the elections, The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) condemns the lack of vision in farming manifestos and demands that all political parties address the serious issues facing food and farming in the UK. Among other policy recommendations, the Landworkers’ Alliance asks all parties to commit to drawing up a National Food Policy based on food sovereignty principles, and to pulling out of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

A national food policy must level the playing-field for small-scale producers, improve the supply of high-quality healthy food, increase employment in agriculture, support new entrants to farming and improve UK food security by investing in local production. Political parties must also take stronger positions to protect the ecological basis for UK farming by implementing a comprehensive ban on GM and working to restore our soils.

Sarah Walters, a LWA member said, “It’s saddening that the main parities farming manifestos are so short sighted. We need a government that will commit to addressing the challenge of ensuring UK food sovereignty in the face of climate change, an aging farming population and retail monopolies. We need parties to offer real opportunities for new entrants, and more support for local, ecological production. This is the time for real change, not more of the business as usual approach we are seeing with these manifestos”.

The LWA has published a booklet explaining these policy requests that can be downloaded here: https://landworkersalliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Feeding-the-Future-Landworkers-Alliance-A4-low-res.pdf

Last week, the LWA marched outside the British Sugar factory to draw attention to the unfair advantage given to industrial agriculture through UK government policy. Over 50 supporters, joined by Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, highlighted the need to focus our food policies on people rather than profits.

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina that represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European Parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends

______________________________________________________

Press Contacts:

In the UK: Landworkers’ Alliance Press Contact: 07951 060 409
(Overseas + 44 7951 060 409)

e: LWApress@riseup.net
w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

 

For information on LWA and an overview of our Policy Demands, download ‘Feeding the Future’ from our website: https://landworkersalliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/feeding-future.jpg

 

Farmers Target Sugar Industry Demanding Fair DealLWA logo small            For immediate release: 23. 4. 2015

Starts:
The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) will be marching from Bury St Edmunds train station to the local British Sugar factory on April 29th at 1pm. Farmers and growers from across the UK will be joined by New York based performance artists Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping to oppose the government’s biased and shortsighted focus on industrial farming. Reverend Billy, Robin Grey and others will give short speeches and performances from 2pm.
British Sugar PLC is a symbol of how broken our current food system is. It is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, a company worth £12.9 billion that controls all of the sugar beet processing in the UK. Changes to agricultural policy, intensified under the coalition government, have resulted in less support for small-scale producers and a distorted subsidy system that encourages production on large-scale industrial farms.
Bob Sheppard, an LWA member from Sussex, says, “We want to see a subsidy system that supports farmers to get away from big industrial monocultures. The future of farming is in local, healthy, sustainable agriculture and not in the sort of monopoly that British Sugar represents. You can’t grow organic sugar beet in this country and get it processed, and for the beet that is grown, all the profits end up with ABF shareholders anyway. We want the profits to go to local communities”.
At present 90% of fruit and 45% of vegetables consumed in the UK are imported. Small producers are in a strong position to increase domestic production of fruit and vegetables. £3 billion in EU CAP subsidies go to UK ‘agriculture’, and yet farms of under 5 hectares get no subsidies at all. Small scale, ecological farmers provide healthy fruit and veg, grass fed meat and dairy products, arable crops, carbon sequestration, more biodiversity and more employment. That’s what we should be supporting.
The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina that represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European Parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends
Photo Opportunity: 1pm-2pm marching from Bury St. Edmund’s train station to British Sugar factory. 2pm-3pm outside British Sugar in Bury St Edmunds with LWA members and New York based performance artist/activists Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping
___________________________________________________________

Press Contacts:

In the UK: Landworkers’ Alliance Press Contact: 07951 060 409
(Overseas + 44 7951 060 409)

e: LWApress@riseup.net
w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

For information on LWA and an overview of our Policy Demands, download ‘Feeding the Future’ from our website.
For more information on Rev Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir visit: www.revbilly.com

 

Press Release – Defend our right to GM free food and farming

 LWA logo

Starts

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) calls on Defra to protect the rights of farmers and consumers to grow and eat GM-free food following a decision in the European Parliaments last week which will allow member states greater control over cultivation of Genetically Modified (GM) crops. The regulation is expected to break the deadlock between pro and anti GM countries and facilitate the approval of GM seeds by leaving individual states to contend with the power of corporate lobbies.

Defra, the GM industry and the National Farmers Union have expressed a clear intention to use this legislation to push GM crops onto English farms while the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly along with family farmers and consumer groups continue to defend their rights to GM free food and farming. The Landworkers’ Alliance calls on Defra to use this opportunity to make a clear stand against the cultivation of GM in the UK in order to protect the health and sustainability of our food, farming and environment.

Lucy Staples, a farmer and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance said: “The EU are making a fools bargin which poses a grave threat to the integrity of family farming. You only have to talk to farmers in the Americas to see that opening the door to GM leads to increasing corporate control over the food system and uncontrollable cross contamination at the expense of family farms and agricultural biodiversity. The EU needs to stand united against GM with the UK in support.  We need Defra to make a strong anti-gm position and divert funding into research and development to support the small scale, agro-ecological alternatives that offer real solutions”.

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends

e: LWApress@riseup.net

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

Press Release – Landworkers’ Alliance in solidarity with milk price LWA logoblockades

For immediate release: 13.10.15

Starts

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) unequivocally supports the recent round of dairy blockades launched by Farmers For Action (FFA). The LWA membership includes a number of small-scale dairy producers who, although not directly supplying to supermarkets, have been indirectly affected by recent price cuts driven by pressure from the multiple retailers.

LWA’s dairy farmers are forced to compete on price with larger-scale producers in an effort to remain competitive at the farm gate. The 3p per litre price cut since June has hit smaller farmers who are unable to achieve the economies of scale that have helped to buffer the impact on larger producers.

“The UK has lost half of all its dairy farms since 2000 thanks to neo-liberal policies that benefit processors and supermarkets. We need a new Milk Marketing Board, or something like it, to stabilize milk prices at a level that gives dairy farmers a decent living.” Says Simon Fairlie, an LWA member who runs a micro-dairy in Dorset, “I support direct action. The original Milk Marketing Board was formed in 1933 after mass demonstrations by dairy farmers and that is the only way we will ever get justice today.”

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends

___________________________________________________________

Press Contact: Simon Fairlie 01297 561359

e: LWApress@riseup.net

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

 

Press Release – Landworkers’ Alliance demand support for family farming on World Food Day

For immediate release: 10.10.14

Starts:

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) will be hosting a choreographed football match between Family Farmers United & Agribusiness FC at a high profile location in Westminster at 1.30pm on Thursday 16th October. The publicity stunt takes place as part of United Nation’s World Food Day, which will see coordinated actions taking place across six continents under the banner “Family Farming – Feeding the world and caring for the earth”.

The LWA is a coalition of producers across the UK who are fed up with the un-level state of the playing field between corporate and small-scale farming. Changes to agricultural policy, intensified under the coalition government, have resulted in unfair support and a skewed market that encourages production on large-scale industrial farms at the cost of smaller-scale alternatives.

“Defra policy is increasingly driven by the demands of big business and large landowners” says Dan Taylor from the LWA “We have seen clear examples of this with their recent decision to strip small farmers of entitlements to public support while at the same time refusing to limit payments to the country’s biggest industrial producers. As a referee for UK farming Defra is not only shortsighted but inherently biased.”

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina that represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Ends

Photo Opportunity:1.30pm central Westminster, contact LWA Press on the day for info

___________________________________________________________

Press Contacts:

In the UK: Adam Payne 07951 060409, Rebecca Laughton, 07813187987

e: LWApress@riseup.net

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

 

Press Release –  Stop the EU-US trade deal 

European Coordination Via Campesina Press Release  – Brussels 08/10/14

European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) supports the European decentralized day of mobilization against TTIP on the 11th of October.

Food safety is one of the key contentious issues in the agricultural sector, together with the promotion of competition.

The UE hygiene standards and labeling that allow us to trace food to its origin and to refuse the use of growth and milk hormones, and that also ban the use of some pesticides in Europe are in serious danger from idea of the harmonisation and major lightening of sanitary standards.

The same holds true for European small-scale farming: the removal of further trade barriers will promote competition by making it easier for EU countries and EU agri-business companies to mutually invest in each other’s economy. This will threaten and limit our past efforts to link consumers and farmers, as well as endangering local food systems and food sovereignty.

The proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have a major impact on social, labour and environmental rights on both sides of the Atlantic, and will increase the liberalization of global trade and investment. For the agricultural sector, this trade deal will increase the power of agri-business corporations, thus undermining local food systems. The agreement is not the result of any democratic process, but rather of negotiations between lawyers, economists, civil servants, corporations and politicians. They have no democratic legitimacy. It is based on the domination of big corporations. The agenda is not public, nor is the process transparent.  With this trade deal, more and more natural resources, goods and services will become privatised.

ECVC is running an awareness raising campaign against the current EU and US bilateral trade negotiations. The aim is to alert policy decision-makers, citizens and media to the disastrous consequences in term of job loss, endangered democracy and damage to the environment of such a trade deal.

ECVC Spokesperson on Trade

Hanny Van Geel ( NL; EN): 0031613903434

 

Press Release – Growers unite to protect their seeds

For immediate release 06/10/14

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) and Soil association (SA) will be launching a Seed Savers’ Network for farmers and growers in the South West this weekend. This regional network will be the first of many launched around the country with the aim of empowering farmers and growers to breed their own seed and develop appropriate, locally adapted varieties.

This initiative comes in response to the steady loss of appropriate seed for small-scale production and increasing moves at the European level to further concentrate control over our plant genetic resources to corporate interests.

Daniel Burston, a grower in Devon said: “For thousands of years farmers all over the world have been creating, preserving and renewing seed diversity by breeding and saving from the plants in their fields.  The diversity of agricultural seeds and the freedom of farming communities to have control over them is fundamental to our food sovereignty.”

“With this network we are creating practical on-farm solutions to rebuilding our agricultural biodiversity. Now we need political will to support these initiatives rather than continuing to sell the common inheritance of our seeds to the highest corporate bidder!”

The LWA campaigns for farmers and growers to have rights to obtain seeds from their own harvests, to breed and to distribute them.

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina that represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Photo opportunities available 11th and 12th October

Press Contacts in the UK:

Daniel Burston – 07729305393 / Adam Payne 07817 320504

LWApress@riseup.net

 

Press Release – Climate of fear among migrant workers in UK agriculture

For immediate release – 03/10/2014

New research by ‘la Confédération Paysanne’ and ‘The Landworkers’ Alliance’ has uncovered the negative impact of the British industrial food production system on its workers. Interviews with workers, trade union representatives and support organisations revealed that many migrant workers were too frightened to complain about poor and often unlawful working conditions. They feared being dismissed by their employers or not being offered further work by their agency.

On the other end of the supply chain, consumers are unaware of the hidden costs of low food prices. The intensive and concentrated food system in Britain requires extreme flexibility from workers and puts them in precarious positions. Too often, farmers and food processors who are facing pressure from major retailers to lower prices do so by cutting labour costs. Migrants and agency workers are in the most vulnerable position as they are working in the most uncertain and unstable conditions. The existing institutional safeguards available to them have been undermined by the recent austerity policies and so-called “red-tape reduction” measures.

‘La Confédération Paysanne’ and ‘The Landworkers’ Alliance’, members of the international farming movement ‘la Via Campesina’ want to:

Remind policy makers that workers’ rights violations in agriculture and food production do not only happen in far-flung food production sites but also in European countries such as the UK;

Affirm that the industrial and productivist agricultural model means declining living and working conditions for millions of European small-holding farmers, and the denial of rights and worsening working conditions for millions of workers in the agriculture and food sector;

Refuse a system where cheap agricultural products are the result of low incomes for small-scale farmers and of low wages and rights violations for workers along the food supply chain;

Call for a true social conditionality to be introduced under the cross-compliance framework of the European Common Agricultural Policy;

Ask for the principle of food sovereignty to be recognized in international law.

Press contacts:

Nicolas Duntze, Farmer Program Coordinator, ‘la Confédération Paysanne’, duntzenico.la@orange.fr

Fanny Florémont, Project Officer, ‘la Confédération Paysanne’, fanny.floremont@yahoo.fr

Adam Payne, Grower and Secretary, ‘The Landworkers Alliance’ LWApress@riseup.net

La Confédération Paysanne is a French agricultural union supporting small-scale producers and striving to ensure that agricultural workers’ rights and dignity are respected. It has been working together with partner organisation and volunteer project officers to publicise migrant workers’ rights violations in the food and agricultural sector in Europe. More information about the program:

www.agricultures-migrations.org

The Landworkers’ Alliance is a union of small-scale producers and family farmers in the UK. It campaigns for the rights of small-scale producers and lobbies the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to the livelihoods of its members. The LWA is a member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world.

www.landworkersalliance.org.uk

Press Release – Farmers welcome dismissal of Owen Patterson.

For Immediate Release – 15/07/20147

 

Farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) welcome the dismissal of Owen Paterson from the position of Environment Secretary.

Rebecca Jones, a farmer and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance said “It is relieving that Owen Paterson has been removed from office. His unashamed focus on corporate agribusiness over the needs of farmers and the environment has been costly to good food and farming. We hope that his successor Liz Truss will put the environment back in Environment Secretary, and stand up to the corporate interests who will try to lead her away from environmental concerns and the needs of farmers.

She added “Ecological land use and properly funded small farms hold the key to dealing with the multiple issues of climate chaos, food security and rural unemployment. The Landworkers’ Alliance looks forward to meeting Liz Truss and discussing how she will work with us to mainstream the solutions that our members are already putting in place.”

The Landworkers’ Alliance hopes to work with Liz Truss to create supportive policy for agro-ecological farming and to level the playing field for small-scale food producers who often receive little or no financial support from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) despite providing high yields of quality food, and high levels of employment, per unit land area, alongside countless social and community benefits.

The Landworkers’ Alliance also hopes to work with the new Environment Sectary to simplify planning, waste and food hygiene regulations to make them appropriate to small scale producers as well as finding ways to support the numerous young people who want to set up new farming enterprises, but face significant obstacles to doing so.

The LWA is a member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Press Contact Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754

E: LWApress@riseup.net

W: www.landworkersalliance.org.uk

Press Release – Free-trade deal threatens UK Food Security.

For immediate release 08.07.2014

Farmers and growers from the Landworkers’ Alliance will protest in London on the 12th July calling for the free trade negotiations between the EU and the US to be scrapped.

The controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the biggest bilateral trade deal in history but negotiations are taking place behind closed doors. They aim to ‘harmonise’ standards and regulations, which will mean a shift towards the lowest common denominator, with serious repercussions for farmer’s livelihoods and public health.

If the corporations involved get their way we will see the increasing import of inferior produce into the EU which will depress prices for farmers. Furthermore, important health and safety standards are at risk with US negotiators pushing to remove regulations on Genetically Modified foods, increase the quantity of pesticide residues permitted and allow the use of dangerous chemicals, antibiotics and growth hormones previously banned in the EU.

“The EU’s pre-negotiation concession to allow imports of American beef decontaminated with lactic acid spray is indicative of what is to come – quality in farming and food processing will be driven down into a race to the bottom with farmers and the public loosing out” said Humphery Lloyd a grower and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance.

“This agreement is shaping up to be a hand out to corporations at the expense of public health and food security. If we degrade our import standards in line with the demands consumers will have more than just chlorine soaked chicken to worry about – this will force farmers out of business and seriously erode UK food sovereignty. We demand that the government stops selling out UK farmers and consumers in these negotiations.”

The LWA is a member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

Press Contact in London:  Adam Payne: 07951 060409

e:LWApress@riseup.net

Press Release – No TTIP

Brussels, 21st May 2014

  • Pan-EU civil society coalition rejects US-EU free trade deal process
  • More than 120 organisations criticise the corporate agenda in the TTIP negotiations

 

 

With the fifth round of negotiations under way between 19th-23rd May in Arlington/USA, a fundamental change in the negotiating on the EU-US free trade agreement is being demanded by an EU-wide coalition of 120 groups in a joint statement released today. The environmental groups, social movements, consumer rights groups, democracy advocate organisations and unions are opposing the corporate agenda of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP (or TAFTA, Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement).

The comprehensive TTIP is set to affect food safety, digital rights, social and labour standards and environmental protection. The statement highlights what is unacceptable in both the agreement and the negotiating process – and what European civil society groups want instead. The organisations reject:

  • the lack of transparency and democratic process in the TTIP negotiations
  • the lowering of standards inherent in the agreement,
  • the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision allowing foreign corporations to sue member state governments and the EU
  • the proposed anti-democratic governance structure, the Regulatory Cooperation Council, for an ongoing ‘harmonising’ of regulations and procedures

“TTIP is basically about corporate rights and control versus people’s rights and democratic control. It threatens to affect a broad range of issues. The strength of our EU-wide coalition is in linking our various struggles and making the big picture visible’ says Johannes Lauterbach from Attac Germany.

TTIP is being negotiated between the European Commission, acting on behalf of member states, and the US government. With US-EU tariffs already low on goods, the main thrust of TTIP is to lower standards, regulations and approval procedures which protect health and safety but are called ‘trade’ irritants’ by those promoting and negotiating the deal. The proposed Investor State Dispute Settlement provision (‘ISDS’) poses a particular threat to democratic governance, according to the broad civil society coalition.

“Clearly the aim is to lower existing regulations to the advantage of big business. The majority of farmers will see incomes reduced, and even more small farmers will be forced from their land. With protections reduced, and beef with hormones and GMOs on their plate, consumers won’t be able to say anything.” added Geneviève Savigny of European smallholders’ movement, European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC).

“Creating a transatlantic common market is core to the grand liberalisation agenda for the European and US economies. TTIP threatens to repeat the errors of the Rome Treaty: The EU is revealing itself to be a machine which puts the workers of its member countries in competition with each other and is a driving force for social dumping.”, said Wolf Jäcklein of the French trade union CGT.

“While other countries are dumping ISDS, the corporate-driven EU Commission is trying to tie us permanently into it. The breadth of resistance to ISDS, including non-government organisations, environment and consumer groups, unions and governments shows that ISDS not acceptable.” says Linda Kaucher from StopTTIP UK.

The coalition is demanding a complete rethinking of the treaty, putting citizens and the environment first with, at the minimum, transparent and democratic process, the removal of any ISDS or regulatory cooperation council provision, no deregulation of standards or further deregulation or privatisation of public services, the promotion of environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and the retention of public authorities’ political power.

“We wholeheartedly reject TTIP and the idea that further liberalisation is good for either the environment or the economy. Europe needs stronger social safety nets, more public ownership, higher standards, greater human and animal rights and increased environmental protection.” says Joe Mobbs of the French citizens’ collective Les Engraineurs.

The 21st May release of the joint statement coincides with the fifth round of negotiations and a day of action outside Washington DC, in Arlington, Virginia, where the negotiations are taking place. The coalition expresses solidarity with American counterparts protesting the free trade agreement. The European coalition has already established a close relationships with US civil society groups and plans common activities in the months ahead.

 

Further info:

Contact:

Genevieve Savigny, European Coordination Via Campesina

email: genevieve.savigny@wanadoo.fr

phone: +33625551687

 

Linda Kaucher, StopTTIP UK

email: lindakaucher@hotmail.com

phone: +44 207 265 9307

 

 

 

Press Release – Small and Family Farms are Feeding the Future

For immediate release: 10.04.14

Starts:

A new British farmers’ union opposed to the stranglehold of big business over agricultural policy will be protesting outside the Head offices of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), 16 and 17 Smith Square London, at 12.00pm on Thursday 17th April.
The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) is a coalition of small-scale producers who believe their views are not represented by the NFU – or recognized by DEFRA. The new Alliance currently boasts 150 members – many of whom have come to Smith Square to picket DEFRA and the NFU – whose headquarters are next to each other.
Under the leadership of Owen Patterson over the past two years DEFRA has strengthened its support of large-scale industrial agriculture and marginalized smaller producers, while the NFU has consistently lobbied for the interests of agribusiness and ignored the views of smaller farmers.

 

“DEFRA needs to recognise the role of small-scale producers in contributing to the national food economy, as well as the environmental and social services provided by these producers,” says Ed Hamer from the LWA.  “As a matter of urgency we demand that DEFRA create policies conducive to a sustainable food future for all.”

 

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

 

Ends
Photo Opportunity: The LWA will have two giant scarecrows on the pavement outside the offices one with the head of Owen Patterson, the other representing the NFU leadership. There will also be a “Farmers’ Market” stall to demonstrate the productivity of our members.
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Press Contact:  Adam Payne: 07951060409 / Jyoti Fernandes: 07875 849754 / Ed Hamer: 07858 381539
e: LWApress@riseup.net
w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

Feeding the Future: Join us for a public demonstration on April 17th

The Landworkers’ Alliance invites you to join us demonstrating outside DEFRA offices on the 17th April to highlight the important role that small and medium scale farmers play in feeding the population and our marginalisation in agricultural policy.

We demand that DEFRA create policies that support rather than hinder small-scale farming and thereby ensure just and sustainable food provision in the future.

We call on all small and medium scale farmers, growers, landworkers and aspiring farmers to join us in showing DEFRA that we have a central role in providing our nations food.

All producers please bring along some of your produce. We will be creating a ‘farmers market’ stall to illustrate the role that small-scale farmers play in providing fresh, healthy produce for their communities, and that this could be significantly up-scaled if supported by DEFRA. There will also be speakers from the Landworkers’ Alliance and other organisations, and a seed-swap highlighting the importance of farm saved seed to small-scale farming so bring along seed to share.

Join us at 12 noon on the 17th April 2014 out side DEFRA head offices, 17 smith Square, SW1P, London.

Download the flyer here: lwaPR

Mobilisation to defend farmers rights

Please find below a compilation of documents relevant for the press about the events of the mobilization organized by European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) on the 20th of January 2014.

FOR the rights of farmers to use and freely exchange their seeds and breeding animals, and to have unrestricted access to all available crop diversity

AGAINST patents on living organisms, and control of the seed market by multinationals

Mobilisation on Monday, January 20th 2014 at 13:00-Place du Luxembourg, in front of the European Parliament

 Read More Here:

Useful Documents:

Press_Release_ECVC-_On_the_Silvestris_Report Press_Release_-_ECVC-_European_Seed_Regulation-_EN Position_on_the_marketing_of_seeds_plant_health_and_controls ECVC_on_the_PRM_plant_and_animal_health_and_official_controls_review

Landworkers’ Alliance Press Release

For immediate release: 20.01.14

Location: European Parliament, Brussels

Farmers Rights to Seeds and breeds under threat!

The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) will be joining 27 farmers’ organizations from across Europe demonstrating outside the European Parliament today to denounce controversial legislation on the marketing of seeds, animal and plant health and restrictive regulations on food production.

Over the next two weeks the European Parliament will be voting on legislation, including the EU Plant Reproductive Material Law (PRML 2013/0137), which will have significant impacts on the livelihoods of small-scale producers. More than 300 farmers are expected to join the mobilization to defend farmers’ rights under the umbrella of La Via Campesina Europe. They are calling on the Parliament to recognize the rights of farmers’ to exchange plant materials, seeds and breeding animals.

Adam Payne, a market gardener from London and member of the Landworkers’ Alliance said “We stand for the rights of farmers to use and freely exchange their seeds and livestock, and to have unrestricted access to crop diversity. This Legislation will concentrate corporate power in the food industry making it harder for small-scale farmers and growers to make a living from their land and reducing overall variety available to consumers.”

The LWA is an official member of the international peasant farming movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world. We campaign for the rights of small-scale producers and lobby the UK government and European parliament for policies that support the infrastructure and markets central to our livelihoods.

 

Ends

Photo Opportunity: 15:00-16:00 20th Jan, Pl. du Luxembourg, Brussels

___________________________________________________________

Press Contact:

In Brussels: Adam Payne t: (0044) 7817 320504, e: adam@organiclea.org.uk

In the UK: Ed Hamer t: 07858 381539 e: LWApress@riseup.net

w: landworkersalliance.org.uk

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