As we leave the European Union and reshape our agricultural policy, now could be the right time to change the way that we farm.
Regenerative farmers are critical to creating a countryside where wildlife can thrive again
With the right incentives and support, there are many opportunities for farmers to provide a network of spaces for wildlife alongside food production. Regenerative and Agroforestry farmers are showing very effective ways of managing productive land for food as well as for wildlife and climate change.
Creating and managing healthy, functioning ecosystems also makes good business sense
We depend on healthy soils for growing food but they also lock-in carbon, help clean away chemicals, hold back floodwater and support an array of life forms from moulds to earthworms. Healthy soil is currently being lost ten times faster than it is being created, and soil degradation costs around £1.2 billion a year in England and Wales. Good soil health and effective soil management is vital to the economic future of any land management business.
We have pollinators to thank for every third mouthful we eat. Many species of bee, moth, butterfly, hoverfly, fly and beetle provide an essential service in the UK (and globally) for free, pollinating £690 million worth of crops annually. Taking over this job ourselves would be difficult and time-consuming and would cost us an estimated £1.8 billion every year!
We have worked with many farmers over the years who have, off their own backs and at their own expense, seen the wisdom and urgency of farming with nature rather than against it.
We want to work with more farmers in the coming months and years to find new ways of creating sustainable, strong farming models with nature and wildlife at their heart.
Look out for your local Cluster Farm to see how you can work with your neighbours to sustainably and collaboratively farm at a landscape scale.
What next for farming?
We need to put the health of our environment at the heart of our future land management policy. This means changing the current system and designing a new government system for farming and land management that is based on environmental outcomes and public benefits. Our farmers produce much more than just food - they provide health and well being, pollinator habitat, carbon storage for climate change, natural flood management and much more. We are campaigning for all these natural farming services to be properly recognised.
We offer advice on land management for wildlife across Sussex. We have worked with many farmers and landowners, including smallholders, traditional farms, estates, community enterprises, permaculture patches, woodland owners, equine businesses and local authorities.
Do you need advice on managing your land for wildlife? We can help.