We are working with Westcountry Rivers Trust, Devon Communities Together, and a wider network of stakeholders to design, develop, test, and review a framework for land use decision-making that takes a systems view and encourages joined-up thinking across sectors.
The goal is to help decision-making bodies at local authority, catchment, and landscape scales, as they navigate complex issues around competing demands on land.
The team is seeking to understand local and national challenges of land use decision-making, and how more granular data and taking a systems approach can help.
In recognition of a disconnect between students and the food and farming system that was highlighted in initial work of the Devon inquiry, we are in discussions about enhancing post-secondary education to encourage students to think critically about what they eat, where it comes from, and the actions they could be taking to improve our current food systems as food citizens rather than passive consumers. More coming soon.
We are exploring what is needed for an agricultural transition in Devon and levers of change, including the economics of changing farming methods, with a focus on grassland systems. More coming soon.
In autumn 2021, FFCC worked with Food in Community, an innovative food charity based in Totnes, to understand how those who are experiencing food insecurity make decisions about what to feed themselves and their family every day.
A market town where wealth sits alongside poverty, Totnes gave us the opportunity to hear directly from citizens who exemplify the very people ‘cheap food’ is supposed to help, in a well-networked community that is well placed to provide new methods of support. As we spoke to people in Devon, what became clear is that even those struggling the most to afford food feel that ‘affordable’ is about much more than price.
FFCC's report Grass Roots: a sustainable future for food, farming and the countryside in Devon and the South West provided the inquiry with four priority areas for action: enhancing ecosystems and environment, building healthy communities, engaging young people and re-localising the food system. Delivering outcomes in one of these areas will impact another, so we are focussing on the following projects:
Our ambition is for the South West to be an exemplar of sustainable food and farming systems in action, by respectfully utilising our unique assets of climate, landscape, and regional gastronomy, to support the health, well-being and prosperity of current and future generations.
Devon is the fourth largest county in England and the largest county in the South West. Due to its favourable climate, the South West is an important food producing region, with natural resources to support the production of fruits, vegetables, grains, as well as its most abundant crop: grass. Grassland forms an important part of Devon’s landscape for livestock agriculture, the food industry and leisure and tourism. Devon has over 70% of its land under commercial farm holdings, of which over 75% are grasslands.
We collaborate with people across the region to achieve our goals: building working relationships with local partners and stakeholders who are already operating in fields of health, education, farming, fisheries, food production, processing, distribution, public sector procurement, biodiversity, ecosystems, and environment. We work closely with our centres of academic excellence, the University of Exeter and Rothamsted Research at North Wyke, and with partners to resource the transition to resilient, diverse and sustainable local food systems working in harmony with nature.
Across Devon, citizens are taking action. Read their stories to find out how they are making change, and what government and business can do to support them.