With the average age of farmers in the UK being 70 and the need for food production rising in importance, the face of farming is starting to look very different. Small scale producers struggle to preserve their livelihood in the face of the difficulties of gaining access to land, low wages, changing weather patterns, planning permission struggles, unfair pricing, and an unjust Common Agricultural Policy.
We are seeking to rebuild a stronger small scale, local agricultural economy, and feel it is time to tackle the root causes of the imbalanced food system through working in solidarity with European farmers who are facing the same challenges as ourselves.
The Land Workers’ Alliance recently came together because we felt there was a lack of national level, producer led organisations in the UK addressing the root causes of the issues affecting small scale food and fibre producers. This meant that the large scale industrial agriculture focus of the National Farmers Union is represented largely unopposed. The UK is a powerful political voice on agriculture in the EU, so we as small scale producers need to fight for an agricultural policy that prioritises sustainable food production by small and medium scale farmers.
Some issues we would campaign on are:
- more market regulation/protectionism to ensure fair pricing,
- CAP reform- including active farmer links for direct payments,
- planning policy reform,
- the right to ban GM,
- seed sovereignty,
- supermarket regulation,
- land reform,
- increased support for new entrants to farming
- animal feed regulations
- environmental health standards
This is only a start. By tackling one issue at a time, we can find solutions for the issues that small producers face in producing healthy food for everyone in the country.