Voices from the field: Can farmers champion health?

Voices from the field: Can farmers champion health?

Interviews by Rosalind Sharpe

It seems self-evident that a primary objective of farming would be to support human health. Farmers’ choices about what they produce and the methods they use, and the policies that frame these decisions, have enormous potential either to improve or to undermine public health, with linked benefits (or costs) to both the environment and the wider economy. But human health is not prioritised in agriculture policy, either at present or in the policy that is proposed, at least for England, after the UK leaves the EU. Is this a huge missed opportunity? Or a reflection of the reality that farmers, at the beginning of long, complex supply chains, are too remote from health outcomes to be able to take them into account, or too focused on the business case to be able to prioritise something so intangible? In collaboration with the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, we interviewed a range of farmers to ask them whether, and in what ways, human health featured in their work and decision making. Our report presents a selection of their responses, in their own words.

This work was in collaboration with The RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission. Their Final Report, ‘Our Future in the Land‘ is available online.

The companion document to Our Future in the Land report, the Field Guide for the Future, shares the stories, experiences and learning of farmers and growers, businesses and communities around the UK.

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