LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) welcomes the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) funded by Defra. It shows that farmers who manage 75% of the land in the UK are vital in the delivery of more than just food and that the natural environment contributes to the economic and social prosperity of the countryside.
This is exactly what LEAF stands for and has campaigned for over the last twenty years. Linking the environment and farming and the importance of integrating food production, environmental health and social acceptance across the whole farm, through Integrated Farm Management (IFM).
Farmers are helping to provide affordable, safe food whilst protecting and enhancing the environment for the benefit of wildlife, the public and the countryside. The report talks about an integrated approach to delivery of ecosystem services. LEAF’s IFM does exactly this.
Through LEAF’s work, everyone has the opportunity to visit a farm and see how their food is grown and how farmers are looking after the countryside. Hundreds of people will be able to discover life on Britain’s farm on Open Farm Sunday, on the 12th June.A further project, Let Nature Feed Your Senses’, provides opportunities for disabled and disengaged people to get out into the countryside and learn about food production and its links with nature.
Shoppers can also actively encourage farmers to do more to enhance the environment by asking for and buying LEAF Marque produce whenever they go shopping. LEAF Marque gives consumers the choice to buy into a better environment.
The findings of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment send out important and positive messages for the farming industry. The challenge now is to ensure these messages are recognized in the market place.