The Soil Association (SA) is pushing for eight policies to be included in all political parties’ manifestos ahead of the snap General Election on 8 June.
The policies are:
- Investing in healthy soils – though soil stewardship payments, mandatory soil testing, incentives for more grass and clover, and agroforestry.
- Zero carbon farming by 2050 – a commitment to ensuring the agriculture and food sector plays its part in tackling climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement.
- Funding for farmer-led research – allocate 10% of the current research and development budget for innovative agriculture projects led by farmers themselves.
- Stronger support for organic farming – building on the current system to increase the amount of land farmed using organic methods to benefit the environment and improve animal welfare, and to meet growing consumer demand for organic food.
- A ‘good life’ for all farm animals within 10 years – setting a new welfare framework for all farm animals supported by the mandatory method of production labelling, stronger regulation of farm antibiotic use, and public investment to help farmers make the transition.
- Investing in child health – commit to creating an environment where it is normal, easy and enjoyable for children and young people to eat well.
- Better public procurement – to widen public access to healthier, higher welfare, local and organic food and to build stable markets for farmers and growers.
- Every hospital becomes a ‘beacon of good food’ – contributing towards the ‘radical upgrade in prevention and public health’ called for in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
The policies build on the SA’s recent report on post-CAP priorities and are designed to ensure that all political parties put climate change, public health, soil protection and farm animal welfare at the centre of their food and farming vision.
The SA is also highlighting the need for more coordinated working across departments and with devolved administrations, and more resources for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
It is urging people to petition their MPs on this issue and share their own ideas for food and farming priorities with the SA by emailing: [email protected]