One of the big questions that we need to ask ourselves as we transition to a fairer, greener future is how we can make life better for sustainable farmers and food producers. The current agricultural systems have to change. But we cannot make that change without providing support for sustainable farmers and food producers.
Support for sustainable farmers and food producers starts, of course, with the practical support they need to transition, and to maintain their sustainable food producing systems. This includes, but certainly is not limited to, financial support. Those of us who do not work in politics cannot help to forge policies designed to incentivise organic, sustainable food production and agro-ecology approaches. But we can, as individuals, vote for those who do.
Another thing to look out for when voting is which parties or candidates have agricultural reform on their agenda. Which offer policies which will help young farmers gain access to land? Which will encourage more young people into sustainable food production, agronomy, and related fields? Which encourage education on green issues, soil health, ecology etc..?
We can also, of course, support sustainable farmers and food producers simply by buying from them – through CSA schemes, veg boxes, farm shops, farmers’ markets etc.. And we can value the food they produce more highly – avoiding waste and using everything we buy.
When making investment decisions, as individuals or in business, we can look to invest in sustainable food production, and the technology or infrastructure that enables it to thrive. Within our current capitalist systems, investment in sustainability is one important way to foster sustainable change and support those who are doing the right thing.
As a sustainability consultant and as a permaculture designer, I have worked with farmers and food producers all over the world. And the things that remain relatively constant are financial issues, and a consistent undervaluing of the work that they do. Through consultancy work and design, I aim to help those involved in food production. Please do get in touch if you are a sustainable food producer to discuss how I can help.
But there is still so much more to do. Even when you do not work in the sustainable food industry, there are plenty of ways to support sustainable food producers and to show that you value the work that they do.