Calling all farmers, foresters and food businesses!

Stakeholders in the food and farming industry are seeking views on whether there should be a more joined-up approach between the two in Buckinghamshire. Elsewhere, Defra is after responses to its Environmental Land Management policy discussion.

By Sustain - the alliance for better food and farming

Thanks to support from the Rothschild Foundation, Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, is leading a scoping exercise to see if there is demand for more joined-up work to support food and farming in Buckinghamshire.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Sustain has been convening two working groups in Aylesbury and High Wycombe which have been delivering the frontline response to the coronavirus crisis, supported by Buckinghamshire Council.

More than 100 charity and community group members have met weekly during the crisis, sourced cardboard boxes and fresh food, commissioned their own volunteers to make masks for each other, moved resources around, shared their knowledge and experience, speedily unpicked and taken on the latest government guidance, and provided each other with support and a sounding board. Within these groups, time and again, one theme has emerged – the value of collaboration. Despite how awful the crisis has been for many, whether it has been those who have been ill, lost loved ones, or struggled to get food on the table, the emergency response partnership members have emphasised that they don’t want to go back to their old, fairly isolated, ways of working.

Since January 2020, Sustain has been gathering background evidence as to the current state of Buckinghamshire’s local food system – in terms of people’s health and access to nutritious food, sustainable food choices and behaviours, land and water use, and the condition of Buckinghamshire’s food and farming businesses.

But this crisis has catapulted the need for good partnership working into the spotlight.

The UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) very recently published this briefing that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a much more resilient UK food system, and recommended a cross-sector partnership approach.

More than 60 Sustainable Food Places (SFP) across the UK are now taking a food partnership approach – in areas that cover 20.4 million people.

So, do Buckinghamshire food system stakeholders believe in this approach?

If you run, work for or volunteer for a food or farming business, charity or community group, institution or statutory service in Buckinghamshire, there are several ways to give your views on the need for a Buckinghamshire Food Partnership:

  1. Answer some key questions using this online survey - - by 5pm on 31st July 2020
  2. Book your place at an online Buckinghamshire Food Summit on Wednesday 29th July from 5:30-7pm, or Thursday 30th July from 2pm-3:30pm
  3. Or get in touch with to have a more in-depth conversation.

Environmental Land Management (ELM) Policy Discussion Document

Defra’s ELM Policy Discussion Document is open for responses until 31st July 2020.

The document can be found here.

The responses will help to inform the detailed scheme design for both the ELM scheme starting in 2024, and the start of Defra’s National Pilot in late 2021. Defra will publish an update later this year after analysing the responses.

Learn all about the proposals in the document at an interactive webinar

Defra is running interactive online seminars for farmers, foresters and land managers in England, to discuss what its policy discussion document means for them. These will be held on the following dates:

  • Thursday, 23rd July – 12 noon - 1:30pm
  • Tuesday, 28th July – 8:30am - 10am
  • Thursday, 30th July - 6am  - 7:30pm

Learn more and register for one of these webinars here.

Registration for each webinar closes 24 hours before the scheduled start time.

Get email alerts from Defra

To stay informed about ELM and the Policy Discussion Document, sign up to Defra e-alerts to receive updates and news from Defra.

Dairy Response Fund

The Dairy Response Fund 2020 provides support to eligible dairy farmers in England who produce cows’ milk. They can apply for a one-off payment of up to £10,000

Read more information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply.

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