Market gardens on the fringes
Barriers & opportunities for peri-urban agroecology
Video footage of a workshop held at the OGA’s Organic Matters 2022 conference. The workshop was organised by SUSTAIN and set out to share knowledge that has been learned from two years of the Fringe Farming project, which aims to help the movement for agroecological food production within UK city peripheries grow. Led by SUSTAIN’s Aryo Feldman, the workshop includes Rebecca Laughton (LWA) and a panel of growers farming on the fringes of UK cities.
Findings & recommendations
- Converting 0.65% more agricultural land to horticultural production would meet national fruit and veg demand.
- The Fringe Farming project aims to increase access to fresh fruit and veg across the UK by supporting local food systems and building connections between urban and rural areas. Critical issues explored within the Fringe Farming project focus on public health, climate emergency, the cost of living crisis, lack of diversity in farming, and land competition.
- Land support could be through blended finance as peri-urban agroecological farms are well placed to generate income. There is a need for planning policies to not inhibit fringe farming enterprise and conservation opportunities, to prioritise safeguarding land on Grade 1/2 soils for peri-urban agroecological farming, and to support the expansion of county-owned farmlands.
- Traineeship schemes need to be funded to attract farmers and new entrants wishing to apprentice and learn practical and theoretical farming knowledge. This should be combined with an on-going mentorship programme that provides practical support, business planning, marketing, and sustainable land management.