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Soil Association backs RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission report

Soil Association backs RSA report

The Soil Association endorses a new report out today (Tuesday 16 July) from the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission.

The wide ranging report establishes the case and the key steps for an urgent transition to sustainable, ethical and healthy food and farming, and a revitalisation of rural communities.

Read the full report

Corn crops

Helen Browning, Soil Association CEO, and a member of the commission said:

This hard hitting report from the RSA sets out what is at stake – ultimately humanity’s ability to survive - and what needs to be done over the next decade to set a different course. This is a deeply urgent and huge task. We must put health at the heart of our food and farming systems, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, reverse the biodiversity crash, and enable rural communities, including farmers, to thrive. It requires major investment, and a sea change in the ways all sectors work together."

“The report builds on the good work that’s already been done by others, including by government under Michael Gove, and has involved a wide range of people who would never usually meet and learn from each other. This collaborative approach needs to continue, to develop a transition plan with farmers, businesses, citizens and government.”

Read Helen's blog in relation to the report, "From Ego to Eco".

Recommendations from the report include:

Good food should be good business

For example, we can grow a much wider range of crops, including enough of the nuts, fruits, vegetables and pulse crops that are suited to our climate, to feed people healthily and reduce imports. Meat and dairy consumption from the grasslands that are so important for biodiversity and soil regeneration, with less reliance on imported grains and protein crops which are implicated in deforestation, should be the norm. Public procurement should lead the way in pump priming and growing markets for healthy, local food. 

A ten year transition to agroecology 

So that farming works with nature, builds soil quality and dramatically reduces reliance on pesticides and antibiotics. This will require farmer-led research, great advice and support from peer mentors and farming networks, and an economic framework which rewards public goods, and disincentivises poor practice. 

What is agroecology? Read out introduction to agroecology here

A countryside that works for all 

And becomes a powerhouse of the green economy: A land use framework for England, enabling and encouraging a multi-functional countryside, where the right things are done in the right places. Investing in rural infrastructure, whether broadband or abattoirs, to regenerate the rural economy; a national nature service will provide the opportunity for all who want to, to spend some time working in the countryside.