New model farming: resilience through diversity
This report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is the first of the new CPRE Farming and Food Foresight Series which aims to provide evidence-based research papers supporting innovative policy solutions to food and farming issues. It states the benefits of diverse farming systems – in demographics, farm size and production – to forge a more resilient future that offers rewards besides food. These include beautiful landscapes, clean water, abundant wildlife, better flood management and improved carbon storage. It also argues that a post-Brexit settlement along these lines would make the benefits of huge public investment in farming clearer to the public. Four case studies show farms of various scales using a range of innovative practices to sustainably produce food and manage natural assets including soils and biodiversity, and support community engagement and public access.
Findings & recommendations
- The paper identifies four case studies of farms carrying out diverse, sustainable, resilient farming in the UK:
- Whitehall Farm, north west Cambridgeshire (agroforestry silvo-arable system)
- The Grange Farm, north west Cheshire (grass-based livestock farm, LEAF accredited)
- The Cholderton Estate, on the border of Hampshire and Wiltshire (mixed farming, closed, organic system)
- Forty Hall Farm, Enfield, North London (organic mixed farm owned and run by Capel Manor College
It also includes a case study on the Ecological Land Co-operative.
- There are five main policy changes recommended to achieve the CPRE’s ‘blue sky’ solutions across the farming sector:
- Increase the availability of land for new farmers and growers.
- Secure the long-term financial stability of farming and ensure public funding continues, is progressive and publicly accountable.
- Work with businesses across the supply chain to create market conditions that support multi-purpose farming, affordable food and equitable trading.
- Build the resilience of farming to reduce risk from climate change and make management of natural assets sustainable by targeting public funding to deliver public benefits and address market failures.
- Improve innovation and resilience across farming at all scales by supporting farmer-led development and promotion of techniques and application of appropriate technologies.