I am in no position to understand contemporary high level Brexit debate, argument and ultimately the compromises that will need to be made, but I do want to spend a little time drawing together some thoughts, reflections and evidence on the place of farming and gardening in feeding us into the future as our government negotiates on our behalf in these central areas of policy making.
There is a vibrant food movement in the UK and Brexit means that there will be a national food and agriculture policy in the future. Will the UK stick to its neoliberal free trade politics or will it take the opportunity to re-shape its food system? A People’s Food Policy want it to be fundamentally transformed.
As one of the most complex, costly, and widely disliked common EU policies, Brexit presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to end some of the absurdities and harm of the CAP – a system which has failed to support farms effectively, failed to stem the huge loss of farm diversity and failed to protect wildlife and services such as flood mitigation.
Whatever deal Brexit secretary David Davis manages to strike with the EU, it could have a negative significant impact on climate policy both on the continent and in the UK, a new report has warned. Dublin-based think tank the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) looked at four different Brexit scenarios, and found that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would likely harm the region’s overall ambition to climate change.
A People’s Food Policy – a ground-breaking manifesto outlining a people’s vision of food and farming in England that is supported by over 80 food and farming organisations was launched on 26th June, 2017. The report draws on 18 months of extensive, nation-wide consultations with grassroots organisations, NGOs, trade unions, community projects, small businesses and individuals. It has resulted in a set of policy proposals and a vision for change that is rooted in the lived experiences and needs of people most affected by the failures in the current food system.
There’s a lot of agitated Facebook chatter among my political friends locally about the labyrinthine tactical voting logics and ways of trying to stop Brexit in its tracks, while others claim to feel politically homeless and unrepresented by the political parties. What, only just now? Ah well, let’s get an election post out of the way…
We therefore present here a blueprint for a new agricultural support scheme for the UK, drawn up by The Land and the Land Workers’ Alliance. It is based on work carried out on behalf of the European Greens, and a longer exposition of these suggestions is available online.
The historian and archeologist Joseph Tainter made a name for himself with his book The Collapse of Complex Societies. At a certain point civilisations collapse because they become more and more complex
Besides deregulation and competition from large-scale agribusinesses, there’s a new factor casting uncertainty over the future of Britain’s small farms: the ‘B’ word. Since the EU referendum in summer 2016, there’s been much uncertainty around what future farming policy will look like.
There’s a logic of accumulation in capitalist economies which left to its own devices tends to commodify everything, including things that can’t ultimately be commodified, like humans, nature, and money (or ‘labour, land and capital’ – the classic ‘inputs’ of orthodox economics).
Behind all that lay a sense that in farming, we face one of the mysteries of life: how food is conjured from the soil, in an alliance with the natural world – with all its challenges of weather, pests and diseases – to support the human race in its most basic need. Farmers are at a crucial intersection between human demand and the integrity of the biosphere on which we are absolutely dependent.
I said I’d swear off blogging for a month, but I thought I’d just drop by to note the appearance on the Dark Mountain Blog of my review of 2016, called ‘A sheep’s vigil’. And, since I’m here, I might as wIell sketch a little bit of extra context for that piece.