Sustainable Agriculture: Show me the money

Next week (it’s come around quickly!), we will be holding our annual President’s Event in London. As always, the response has been tremendous and we’re now fully booked. However, for the first time this year, you can follow the event live on our website! Commentating on the event live will be LEAF Trustee, Cedric Porter – click here to go to the live event page.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Sustainable Agriculture: Show me the money’. Valuing the outputs of sustainable agriculture is an incredibly difficult task, the public goods farming delivers are vast and often difficult to quantify. This conference will explore the three pillars of sustainability, debate new ideas on how money can be made from each of them and examine LEAF’s role in making this happen.

We interviewed LEAF’s Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond about the theme of this year’s event, you can see the video below. Caroline spoke about the increasing demands society is placing on what it expects from agriculture – ranging from a plentiful supply of affordable food, traceability, a thriving environment and access to a well-managed landscape, bringing with it a host of health and wellbeing benefits.  She explained that new ways of thinking need to be explored to ensure farmers are able to deliver on all these levels, whilst also looking after their own bottom line.   Ultimately, she said, profitability has to lie at the very heart of sustainability.

Get involved in the event by tweeting with the hashtag #LPE13 and follow the event live here!  To keep up to date with our President’s Event, please subscribe to LEAF’s EBrief here.

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One response to “Sustainable Agriculture: Show me the money

  1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Caroline and I’ll be very interested to follow the discussion around this huge issue. What strikes me again and again is the assumption its first and foremost about food production – well I suppose it would be, you are after all farmers – but you’ll one day face exactly the charge always made against forestry ‘why should we pay for a business that is there just to produce timber ?’

    Bearing in mind that (as i understand it) 40% of lowland & 80% of LFA farm incomes come from public money wouldn’t it be interesting to turn the question on its head and say ‘ if you were starting from scratch today what would you, the public, want to buy with that money ?’ I suspect it would put real values on things simply taken for granted today – I increasingly wonder why water that falls on a farm or a forest has no value – but becomes a spectacularly profitable asset when captured by a water company (or equally expensive when it floods a town !). Just how much might people be prepared to pay for even better access in heavily used areas around towns where currently farmers struggle for nothing to cope with the negative impacts of public pressure ?

    Whilst theres no immediate prospect of changes to the emphasis of the CAP it surely makes sense to develop a strong argument for continued public funding – and in the process gain the confide3nce and trust of the urban majority in farmer;’s role as the stewards of the countryside – well ahead of any crunch in public support for the countryside.

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