Molly to host roundtable event to explore how land use can tackle climate emergency and address loss of wildlife

Molly will this week host a roundtable event on reforming land use in the South West to help tackle the climate emergency [1]. A group of experts from agriculture, diet and land-management will explore together how farming can become part of the solution to climate change and biodiversity loss rather than being part of the problem. Farming currently accounts for an estimated 10% of the UK’s carbon emissions.

The roundtable comes in a week when the BBC screened a controversial meat documentary which revealed the impacts of intensive and factory farmed livestock on the climate, environment and animal welfare. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) the livestock industry is responsible for up to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Molly, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture committee, believes it is fitting that such a roundtable event is taking place on a livestock farm. She said:

“Ahead of the COP25 talks in Madrid in December, this timely roundtable event will consider the impact of farming and land use on our carbon emissions. The recent IPCC report slammed current land-use management as ‘catastrophic’ for the environment. The continual move towards intensive and industrial farming methods with high chemical inputs has proved disastrous for wildlife, biodiversity and for the sector’s carbon emissions.

“This week’s BBC documentary revealed that intensive and factory farmed livestock is a sector that needs to reduce its CO2 emissions, alongside industry and transport. The pledge by the National Farmers Union to achieve net zero carbon by 2040 is welcome but they need to go further, faster.

“Every meal we eat is only there because of farmers, and so we need to work with them to ensure they make the transition to a climate friendly future. These roundtables are an opportunity to discuss how the South West can contribute to stronger local food economies based around diets with a higher proportion of vegetables and working more closely with nature.

“Eastbrook organic farm, where we are holding this roundtable event, is a farm where livestock, dairy and crop farming work in harmony with nature rather than in conflict with it. This is one of many farms across the South West that are pioneering successful small-scale and organic farming methods and leading a land use and climate-friendly farming revolution.”      

The round table will consider issues such as how to better balance the relationship between food production and environmental protection; how land can be managed to improve carbon sequestration; quality of life in rural areas and how re-wilding or re-forestation can help restore biodiversity.

Notes

[1] The roundtable event will take place on Thursday 28th November, 2.30 – 5.30pm, at Eastbrook Farm in the heart of the South West, surrounded by farmland, woodland, and overlooked by the North Wessex Downs.

Participants include:

Ben Raskin, Head of Horticulture at the Soil Association, Specialist knowledge in agroforestry and community supported agriculture, he manages agroforestry at Helen Browning’s Farm and works a lot in Bristol. See: https://www.soilassociation.org/staff-bios/ben-raskin/

David Butler, Sustainable Farmer at East wick Farm, Wiltshire, Won the Barn Owl Award in 2018 for going the extra mile to produce food sustainably and conserve farmland wildlife. Aims to improve biodiversity and retain better sustainable commercial production. See: https://www.fwagsw.org.uk/news/wiltshire-farmer-announced-as-overall-winner-of-the-2018-barn-owl-trophy 

Colleen Mcduling, Natural Agriculture Farmer at the Shumei Natural Agriculture Farm, Yatesbury. Practice Veganic agriculture which has no agrochemicals, pesticides, fertilisers and focusses on respect of soil, environment. See: https://shumei.uk/yatesbury/2019/05/18/a-revolutionary-new-way-of-farming/

Niels Corfield, Soil Advisor, researcher, educator on sustainable food. He focusses on agro-ecological systems that are low maintenance and productive. South West. See: https://soils.sectormentor.com/soil-tests/soils-advisor-niels-corfield/

Jonathon Brunyee, Former director at pasture for life, Organic farm in the Cotswolds, Lecturer in farm business management, agricultural policy and rural tourism at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. He feels that Pasture for Life farmers produce high quality food in a more natural way. See: https://www.pastureforlife.org/board-members/jonty-brunyee/ https://www.farm-ed.co.uk/jonty-brunyee

Maia Elliot, Analyst and Science writer for Food Security UK, Swindon. Food Security UK researches sustainable, healthy and resilient food systems.

Jyoti Fernandes, Agroecological Smallholder Farmer, Dorset, Member of Landworker’s Alliance in the UK, focus on agroecological farming, food sovereignty and localised food systems.

Hugh Loxton, Director of Miscanthus Nursery, a growing cooperative in Taunton area supporting action on climate change. Grow Miscanthus (Elephant Grass) on agricultural land to maintain soil stability, carbon sequestration  

Richard Gothard, Director of Miscanthus Nursery, same as above.

Simon Fairlie, Editor of Land Magazine and Author of Meat: A Benign extravagance, he has worked for the past 20 years as an agricultural labourer, shepherd, fisherman and stonemason. He was the co-editor of The Ecologist magazine. He now runs Chapter & an organisation that provides planning advice to smallholders and other low-income people in the countryside.

Facilitator: Perry Walker, founder of Talk Show and the devisor of various group participatory methods which he uses across Europe. Talk shop is a method of discussing and reaching an agreement about the issues that matter to us. He is currently working for Rhizome, a co-operative providing facilitation, training and organisational development to activists, campaigners and NGOs across the UK.  

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