Rewild or Farm
If I rewild land in an area which has latterly been used for arable production (the fields around me are farmed for wheat and borage), am I removing good valuable land from the agricultural system and reducing our ability to produce food? This argument is often levels at people who want to allow the land to ‘go back to nature’ and for that reason rewilding should be kept to areas of marginal or poor farming land. Or inaccessible aeas like steep banks adjacent to streams which already have the remnants of scrub.
This is my response.
- We waste so much food. Globally we produce more than we eat.
- The land in this country and across the world is becoming so depleted that scientists have said some areas have as few as 100 harvests left in the soil. That’s 30-40 years.
- There is nothing to say that the land I am rewilding cannot be returned to agricultural production in 10-20 years’ time after it has recovered its structure, its nutrient content and the natural processes that sequester carbon to create a healthy soil and enable growth. Then the field next to me could be rewilded. It’s a thought.
- Its important that nature and biodiversity is returned to all areas of the world and the UK. Upland and lowlands. There must be diversity in our natural environment to enable genetic diversity of plants and thus ensure their and our survival. Isolated patches of areas set aside for nature don’t work either, they must be connected.
- The danger to my mind with direction of government policy is that there will be patches of nature rich areas, almost to appease, and then intensification in agricultural production else where with greater use of chemicals and fertilizers as we try to produce more cheap food given, we now have to compete in a global market against countries like America and Australia whose standards are lower than ours. Already I note from this year’s Oxford Farming Conference that Glyphosate use standards are to be set below the current standards of the EU which we used to adhere to. In addition, Australia is delighted with our trade deal which gives the opportunity for their farmers to export cheap meat to the UK. This will put our farmers at risk of going out of buiness and reduce the health of the people in the country with poorer quality meat, and then there is the carbon footprint of beef from the other side of the world.…..
- I believe there is space for food production and rewilding and importantly regenerative farming, which takes more care of the land using methods such as no plough and encouraging the dung beetle back to the land to grow food. This farming, with interspersed wild area would transform our landscape and our heath for the better, boost food security and hopefully promote smaller farms which in the current climate with the new subsidy system being introduced are in danger of being excluded from the government payments that their larger competitors will receive.
A lot to think about, but what and how we produce food is a massive issue that will impact our collective future. All I know is that if we exclude the environment we will suffer too. So please buy less meat but better quality from local sources. Buy seasonally, learn how to cook and influence the direction of travel in the market while improving your health.