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Press release

A consensus on food, farming and nature

Wild flowers at the nature-friendly Wimpole Home Farm, Cambridgeshire
Wild flowers thriving in a wild field margin | © National Trust/Phil Morley

A group of farmers and environmental organisations, including the National Trust, Soil Association and RSPB, met in the margins of the 2023 Oxford farming conferences to forge consensus on a way forward for farming, recognising the huge pressures that many farming sectors are currently experiencing.

This consensus rests on a shared understanding that:

  • A healthy natural environment underpins food security
  • Farming does not just produce the food we eat but is also central to efforts to tackle the nature, climate, and public health crises
  • Diversity - in nature, in farming systems and amongst those involved in farming - along with diversity in farm animals and crops, will enable resilience and innovation in the face of climate change and economic challenges

From the meeting a consensus emerged, and the informal grouping invites further discussion and engagement on this. It is vital to find common ground and show solidarity across farming, food, and environmental interests so that policy makers and supply chain actors can have the confidence to act in ways that will support a vibrant future for food, farming, and nature, in service of our citizens.

Much great work is already being done by farming businesses, governments and NGOs, but we need the economic and regulatory frameworks that will ensure all food production meets the needs of people and planet.

Harry Bowell, Director of Land and Nature, said: “Now is the time to transform the food system. The prize for this transformation is healthier people, resilient farming livelihoods, prosperous rural communities, thriving wildlife, and a stable climate. But we need a consensus and strong leadership for government. We must now begin this shared journey to a vibrant future for food, farming, and nature.”

Read the full consensus here.