Changing the future of food and farming

Farming the Future 2020: New projects for ORC

ORC is pleased to be partners in two projects funded by Farming the Future’s Year 2 Grant-pool. A National Network of Agroforestry Farms and Influencing Policy to Support Farm Woodland and Agroforestry from the Ground-up

Farming the Future, administered by the A Team Foundation, serves a diverse collective of land-workers, educators, researchers, lobbyists, activists, organisations and funders, who are dedicated to transforming the current industrial food system.

Emerging from the agroecological food movement, this alliance seeks to facilitate the power of the collective to build a system of regenerative food production and land use that furthers social and environmental justice. Farming the Future fosters a culture of collaboration through pooled grantmaking to strengthen the ecosystem of the food and farming movement. Farming the Future is funding 16 strategic partnerships and innovative projects through its Year 2 Grant-pool. ORC is involved with the two projects below:

A National Network of Agroforestry Farms

LEAD ORGANISATION: THE GAME & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TRUST PROJECT PARTNERS: THE ORGANIC RESEARCH CENTRE, THE WOODLAND TRUST, THE NATIONAL TRUST, THE AGRICOLOGY PROJECT, THE WOODMEADOW TRUST, THE FARM WOODLAND FORUM

One of the solutions proposed by the government to achieve Net Zero carbon by 2050 is to plant at least 30 000 ha of trees per year. 50% of these are designated for farming land. Yet the UK’s domestic food production has rapidly declined over the last 40 years, threatening food security and sovereignty. Large-scale tree planting has the potential to reduce production even further and could contribute to the climate and ecological crisis it aims to avert.

As a result of previous agricultural policy putting tree-planting in conflict with subsidies, the UK has one of the lowest levels of woodland in Europe. New agricultural policy has the potential to meet multiple objectives for food production and environmental protection. Whilst mixed cropping systems are more complex to manage, they can produce a wider range of food and fuel, greater resilience to climate and market challenges, and rural employment.

This project aims to promote agroforestry as a way of farmers and landowners simultaneously and sustainably growing food, transitioning into the new ELM Scheme and contributing to ‘public goods’. The project will showcase farms and initiatives across the UK successfully balancing these objectives to share knowledge and evidence of the value of agroforestry. Content for educational and promotional resources to be shared with UK growers and potentially influence a national pilot as well as future policy.

Influencing Policy to Support Farm Woodland and Agroforestry from the Ground-up

PROJECT LEAD: SOIL ASSOCIATION PROJECT PARTNERS: THE ORGANIC RESEARCH CENTRE, LANDWORKERS ALLIANCE (LWA), THE FARM WOODLAND FORUM

The ongoing development of the UK’s agricultural policies involves reshaping farming subsidies to reward ‘public goods’ rather than the amount of land that’s farmed. Yet the barriers to agroforestry posed by the outgoing Common Agricultural Policy need dismantling urgently in order to get it incorporated into new policies including the ELM Scheme.

These organisations are involved in various ELMS tests and trials, which have revealed the lack of awareness and understanding of agroforestry across the board. This project will proactively share the findings on the benefits of agroforestry for climate, nature and health, and share them effectively with policymakers.

Combining research, coordinating advisory workshops and creating resources, the partnership will support stakeholders to deliver compelling evidence to policymakers, media and the public. A collaborative effort hopes to engage a diverse network of stakeholders in order to form a focused and united voice that will ultimately influence policy decisions on agroforestry.

Read the full list of projects: https://www.farmingthefuture.uk/post/farming-the-future-2020-the-funded-projects

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