Sustainable and ethical food

Nature-friendly farming

There is huge value to nature-friendly farming with benefits not just for the recovery of wildlife but also for our health.

Why we're prioritising nature-friendly farming

Rationale

There has been huge loss of biodiversity on farms:

  • 56% decline in farmland birds since 1970
  • 97% of wildflower meadows present in the 1940s have been destroyed (3 million hectares)
  • Current farming approaches result in 0.1 to 0.3 tonnes of soil lost per hectare per year.

At the same time, 69% of the UK’s land area is farmed and so the potential for change is significant. Large areas of farmland will be unprofitable within a generation under the current model, but markets are still failing to recognise the added value of nature-friendly farming.

However, increasing awareness and a growing sense of awareness all speak to a window of opportunity that we can stimulate.


What we want to achieve

Long-term outcomes
  • The benefits, including health benefits, of sustainable farming are widely recognised
  • Farmland wildlife is recovering, e.g. arrest the decline and begin the recovery of birds shown by Farmland Bird Index
  • The status of other species on farms is better understood and recovery is underway
  • Soils contain more carbon and chemical usage has been reduced
  • Working with nature on farms makes good business sense and is widely demonstrated and accepted
  • More people buy locally produced food

Case studies