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Farmers at Parliament

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On Wednesday the 24th June, MP and Peers met some of the UK’s most innovative farmers and food producers who brought the farm to Parliament.

‘Farmers in Parliament’ is a one day exhibition hosted by Kerry McCarthy MP on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology for Sustainable Food and Farming. The exhibition, will be opened by successful businesswoman and smallholder, Deborah Meaden  (of Dragon’s Den). Deborah will be joined by Farming Minister George Eustice.

The farmers, 15 in all were from a diverse assortment of Farms, Food Community Projects and Food producers from around the UK.  All sectors of the food industry were represented from dairy to horticulture, traditional mixed farms and agroforestry and Community growing initiatives.

The exhibition provided the opportunity for all to demonstrate the wide variety of techniques they use to ensure their farms are economically viable, productive and efficient, while also producing a range of benefits to society and the environment.

Host & Co-Chair Kerry McCarthy MP, said “This event, and the wider work of the APPG for Sustainable Food and Farming, really addresses the important and urgent issue of how we can make our system of food and farming more sustainable, and how 21st century science can be applied to increase farm productivity while conserving natural resources. The event encourages MPs to talk to the farmers present and to think about sustainability when looking at food and farming policies for the future”.

Fellow Co-Chair, Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Dormer added,  “True sustainable farming isn’t about turning our back on new technologies it is about understanding how the natural world operates and then tailoring our activities to be ‘in sync’ with nature. As a result our reliance on artificial props reduces and their use becomes more targeted and case-specific.”

The diverse group of farmers, producers and community food project managers were united in their efforts to move beyond the conventional, industrial farming of the past half century. Recognising that practices, based on monocultures and chemistry and long food chains has led to a range of problems, from environmental degradation to the loss and diminishment of rural livelihoods and the contamination of the food chain.

Deborah Meaden concluded, “Farm and Food management methods grounded in biology make both sound long term financial and environmental sense. Farmers, landowners, food producers, policy makers and society as a whole must share the collective responsibility for future food production and work together to ensure truly sustainable solutions.”

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