There are lots of discussions about regenerative agriculture, agrifood systems transformation, the future of food… Much needed discussion we may add. But where is the farmer in all this? 🤷🏼
Is the farmer 🧑🌾 part and parcel of the changes needed, rewarded financially and empowered to be a part of the transition ahead? Farmers are ‘blamed’ for the high greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming; it’s on their shoulders to transition their agricultural practices, and - oh by the way - when extreme weather 🌪️ events wipe out their crops, it’s on them to pay the price.
It’s no surprise that we are reading about the heavy - and increasing - mental toll on farmers, leading to a range of impacts, from financial insecurity, depression, and - at times - suicide. Growth in farmer suicides has been correlated to extreme weather events in some studies. A gruelling finding.
So yes, where is the farmer, and if the farmer is not at the heart of the transition, it is not a just transition.
I’m off to Oxford to discuss this critical topic as part of a convening ‘Towards a Just Transition in Global Food Systems’ - many thanks to the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Foods, the Skoll Centre, the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, and Nestlé for bringing us all together. I always wake up excited when I know that I’m going to be in a room of like-minded professionals who are all pushing for a better future and who are eager to push together. Yay! 🙌
On this, the FT has recently talked about how regenerative agriculture is not a miracle solution to reduce Scope 3 emissions—it needs to be applied alongside other reduction measures. An interesting case study of how companies and governments need to be thinking holistically across everything they’re doing, not just investing in one or two approaches (similar with carbon offsets in many ways). We would add: and bring in living income and livelihoods. Regenerative agriculture and farmer livelihoods go hand in hand. 🧑🤝🧑
My train just pulled into Oxford! 🚆
See some of you there,