New Parliamentary group will promote green farming
MPS and peers of all parties have come together to promote environmentally friendly farming as the solution to the global food security problem.
The new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Agroecology attracted ‘one of the best-ever turn-outs’ for an APPG launch, according Baroness Sue Miller, one of the founding members of the group.
She said the interest in the event at the Palace of Westminster reflected the importance attached to environmentally-friendly farming.
“There is no more important subject than how to feed the world without using the resource equivalent of two or three planet Earths,” Baroness Miller said.
Agroecology, defined as ‘applying ecological concepts and principles to the study, design and management of sustainable agroecosystems’ is seen by some as the antidote to the model of ‘sustainable intensification’, promoted by the recent Foresight report on global food and farming.
The all party group, which will meet every month that Parliament is sitting, will promote the concept within Parliament through, for example, inviting experts to brief MPs, peers ands advisers and publishing briefings on agroecological issues. It will also lobby Ministers and Shadow Ministers directly and through Early Day Motions, debates and Parliamentary Questions.
The group contains a number of politicians who either have connections to farming or who have campaigned on farming issues. These include Lib Dem MPs Tim Farron, Roger Williams and Andrew George, new Tory MP Zac Goldsmithm, former Defra Minister Michael Meacher, OP campaigner, the Countess of Mar and Robert Fiello, who introduced the Sustainable Livestock Bill to Parliament last year.
It is backed by organisations that campaign for environmentally friendly farming, including Compassion in World Farming, Friends of the Earth, the Soil Association and the Campaign for Real Farming.
Colin Tudge, founder of the Campaign for Real Farming and the Oxford Real Farming Conference, said the launch was timely coming after the publication of Government Chief Scientist Professor John Beddington’s Foresight report
“While there’s much that’s useful in the Beddington report, unfortunately there’s also an air of panic about it. It acknowledges we’re facing shortages of oil, phosphorus, fresh water and so on, all of which are likely to affect our current methods of farming,” he said.
“Its solution is to turn immediately to high-tech solutions, yet the problem is not a matter of ideology, but biology. With 4.2 billion hectares of global farmland available, feeding a population of 9.5 billion shouldn’t be a problem,”
What’s needed is government commitment to food security through its support for a healthy, modern agriculture.”
The following Parliamentarians are members of the Group:
- The Rt Hon Lord Philip Hunt (Lab)
- Countess of Mar (CB)
- Baroness Miller (LibDem)
- Bishop of London (Ind)
- Lord Walpole (CB)
- Lord Redesdale (LibDem)
- Tim Farron (LibDem)
- Robert Fiello (Lab)
- Andrew George (LibDem)
- Zac Goldsmith (Con)
- Oliver Heald (Con)
- Kate Hoey (Lab)
- MarQn Horwood (LibDem)
- Jeremy Lefroy (Con)
- Caroline Lucas (Green)
- Michael Meacher (Lab)
- Tessa Munt (LibDem)
- Dan Rogerson (LibDem)
- Joan Ruddock (Lab)
- Angela Smith (Lab)
- Gary Streeter (Con)
- John Thurso (LibDem)
- Roger Williams (LibDem)
- Dr Sarah Wollaston (Con)
- Tim Yeo (Con)