‘HUMANITY’S ability to survive is at stake, unless we put health at the heart of our food and farming systems’ – that was the message delivered by the CEO of Soil Association, Helen Browning, commenting on a new report released today (July 16), by the RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission.

The report calls for an urgent transition to sustainable, ethical and healthy food and farming, and a revitalisation of rural communities.

Helen Browning commented: “This hard-hitting report from the RSA sets out what is at stake – ultimately humanity’s ability to survive - and what needs to be done over the next decade to set a different course. This is a deeply urgent and huge task,” she stressed. “We must put health at the heart of our food and farming systems, to mitigate and adapt to climate change, reverse the biodiversity crash, and enable rural communities, including farmers, to thrive. It requires major investment, and a sea change in the ways all sectors work together,” she urged.

Some of the recommendations from the report include reducing food imports by growing a wider range of healthy crops and encouraging grass-fed operations, which reduce the need for imported grains.

It calls for investment in rural infrastructure to regenerate the rural economy and a ten-year transition to agroecology – which would encourage farming to work with nature, build soil quality and dramatically reduce reliance on pesticide and antibiotics.

“The report builds on the good work that’s already been done by others, including by government under Michael Gove, and has involved a wide range of people who would never usually meet and learn from each other,” Ms Browning continued. “This collaborative approach needs to continue, to develop a transition plan with farmers, businesses, citizens and government.”