Farms, Fields & Food

Today the Social Democratic Party publishes ‘Farms, Fields & Food’ – its new Green Paper on agriculture and the countryside.

Farms, Fields & Food tackles the crisis in agriculture, the rural environment and Britain’s food system – a system which is harmful to animal welfare, public health, food security and degrades our fields, rivers and wildlife. For every £1 we spend on food, we spend another £1 in hidden costs. Successive governments have sacrificed long-term prosperity – our natural capital – for short-term gain.

Britain has become a country of food banks and yet over 25% of food is wasted in the home and 9% before leaving the farm gate.  Britain’s farmers – squeezed by the supermarkets and food cartels – struggle to make a living and most make more from subsidies than from farming itself. The abuse of antibiotics, pesticides and nitrate fertilisers has made farming neither economically secure nor ecologically viable.  

Farms, Fields & Food makes the case that the primary causes of our difficulties – ignored for a generation by our political class – relate to the structure of our farming and food systems and the incentives they apply. The solutions lie in facing up to the true cost of good food, the value of ecological restoration and the necessity of trade policies aimed at greater national food security.

The Green Paper advocates a comprehensive re-balance to achieve four targets:

* Affordable healthy food and fair prices to producers.

* Sustainable farming and environmental restoration.

* Thriving rural communities and a small farm future. 

* UK food security in a global market.

SDP Leader William Clouston comments:

Farming and food has – rightly – become a massive political issue and so the SDP’s new Green Paper is timely.  Our farmers are struggling, our fields and rivers are degraded and many fellow citizens find it hard to source good quality nutritious food.  The Government’s answer is to ignore these problems and rely even more heavily on food imports – a massive economic and strategic mistake.”

“We must stop deceiving ourselves.  The crisis in our farming and food system is both an economic and a cultural problem – partly the marker of a throwaway society.  We must face up to the true cost of healthy food and the need for trade policies that protect British producers and consumers.

Family, Community, Nation.