Sharing two articles and a petition from our friends across the border - in some aspects we are in a similar national picture to them, but their potential solutions have differences. What could we take from their campaign here in Herefordshire?
"Some of you may be aware of Our Food 1200 ( OF1200) which has been energetically campaigning for over a year to shift the volume of local sourced horticulture being grown by smallholders locally. Initially the focus was on Bannau Brecheiniog National Park (BBNP), and Monmouthshire. This has now extended to include Powys.
The 1200 figure in the title was an aim to create 1200 acres of horticulture within Monmouthshire and BBNP. (Calculated for the level of veg needed for the population)
Many complex barriers are currently preventing growth in small holder horticulture:
- Govt farming subsidies exclusion
- Planning policy on rural enterprise dwelling
- Access to suitably serviced land
- Potential legal constraints on County Farms.
Two major articles have been published on the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) Agenda online written by directors of OF1200. Here are the links.
"Why are we surrounded by thousands of acres of green fields suitable for growing fruit and veg while having a waiting list of experienced farmers unable to access any of it?"
"We call for action on two fronts. First, we make the case that Government must let small-scale fruit and vegetable farmers live in a real home on the land they’re working, and stop expecting them to live and raise children in caravans. Second, we call on Councils to repurpose County farms into thriving small-farm enterprise hubs, producing high-quality food for local people, creating jobs, enhancing local wellbeing, and potentially generating more income for them than the current single tenancy system."
If you empathise with the cases being made, please sign the petition to the Senedd (link below) asking for WG to reconsider the agricultural subsidy rules that currently exclude smallholder horticulture from subsidy.
Time is of the essence since WG are under huge pressure to bring in the new regime of subsidies for farmers, post Brexit. So please act and send to your other networks to add to the petition."