SA Comment on 25 Year Environment Plan
Following the release of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan, Helen Browning, CEO of the Soil Association, says:
The 25 Year Environment Plan addresses important areas – including the vital need to restore soil health, reduce pesticide use, deliver the highest levels of animal welfare and restore farmland biodiversity – but we need to see further detail on the practical measures that will turn these aspirations into reality in the near future. A fundamental shift in farming systems is required as part of that: agroecological systems, such as organic, exemplify many of the agricultural practices described in the Plan and we urge Government to recognise this by harnessing the full potential of these systems in the forthcoming command paper on the Agriculture Bill.
Joanna Lewis, Strategy and Policy Director, Soil Association Food for Life, adds:
We welcome the plans to help more children engage with the environment though the Nature Friendly Schools programme and environmental school visits. However, this will fail if children continue to be taught to associate nature with nature reserves rather than with our farmed countryside. Growing food, and visiting farms, are both proven ways to increase the uptake of fruit and veg by children: combining nature with agriculture could achieve wide benefits including for public health. Agricultural policy needs to support farmers in farming for nature, including through more organic farming, and to support the aims of the education sector, including giving children an opportunity to stick their hands in the soil.