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A different future for farming in Sussex?

12th January 2021

We face big questions: How do we feed a growing population, healthily? How do we respond to a changing climate? How do we create a resilient, secure and fair farming system? How do we tackle the nature and health crises?

The answers to these questions will shape the future of the Sussex countryside for many generations.

The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) explores these questions in its report, Farming for Change: mapping a route to 2030. This shows that, with the right enabling conditions, an agroecological system can produce enough healthy food for a growing UK population while

  • eliminating synthetic fertilisers and pesticides
  • nearly doubling amount of land available for green and ecological infrastructure (ponds, hedges, meadows etc.)
  • releasing 7.5% of current agricultural area for more flexible use
  • reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by at least 38% by 2050 (with potential to offset 60%+ of remaining emissions through afforestation)

These benefits can be achieved without compromising food security or offshoring food production and the associated environmental impacts.

In its 2019 report, Our Future in the Land, FFCC argued that ‘farming can be a force for change, with a transition to agroecology by 2030’. Its report, Farming for Change: mapping a route to 2030, provides signposts for this transition to help resolve the intertwined climate, nature and health crises. The FFCC is now exploring the practical implications of its research findings with policy makers, industry and citizens – and identifying immediate actions for governments and farmers, as well as the next steps for research and investment.

Many UK farmers are already adopting agroecological practices. Growing evidence of the economic benefits for farmers of this approach is reported by the FFCC in Farming Smarter – the case for agroecological enterprise. CPRE Sussex is keen to hear from farmers using an agroecological approach in Sussex.

The FFCC was set up in November 2017 as an independent inquiry hosted by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. It  became an independent charity in April 2020.