In furtherance of our endeavours around reducing the eco-footprint of the food system, Food Plymouth’s Fairfax Luxmoore and Ian Smith travelled to rural Gloucestershire to take part in the Farming and Climate Change: Towards Net Zero Carbon Emissions conference. Right: Pillars of Sustainability – Michael Lee
This was organised jointly by the Sustainable Food Trust and the NFU and was held in the delightful Cotswolds setting of Lower Swell near Stow-on-the-Wold.
This year’s conference was highly topical, given the enhanced and long overdue attention to global climate change and the rising tide of declarations of climate emergencies. The host of impressive speakers included NFU president Minette Batters, Prof Michael Lee of Rothampsted Research, Economist and Natural Capital specialist Prof Dieter Helm and American rancher and author Nicolette Hahn Niman. One of the highlights of the event was a lively and wide-ranging panel session, chaired by broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby.
Ian reports three major ‘takeaways’ from the conference, namely: Insights arising from inputs by Minette and several other speakers around the ‘hidden carbon’ costs of importing foods, especially by airfreight and how local, sustainable farming and growing – including appropriate livestock farming – can counter this; Nicolette’s appreciative observations around world-leading practices in and around UK agriculture and the national sustainable food movement; and Michael Lee’s incisive focus on the direct relationship between all three pillars of sustainable development – namely environmental, economic and social – and farming and growing in the UK.
We will bring you further learning from the conference – including some observations from Fairfax – in future editions of the Food Plymouth e-bulletin.