England’s food production and farming needs to take a radical turn for the greener, according to a new report by the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food. The commission, which was convened following devastating outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the U.K., calls for some farm subsidies to be based on conserving the land rather than tilling it. Other recommendations include increasing organic farming, encouraging farmers to sell their goods at cooperatives and farmers markets, and persuading supermarkets to sell locally grown products. Many welcomed the report, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said, “The current situation benefits no one: farmers, taxpayers, consumers, or the environment.” The already demoralized farming sector, however, is wary of the proposals, and some consumers fear that implementing them would drive up food prices.
Get Grist in your inbox