We are currently working with partners across Wales to implement our recommendation for a national nature service for Wales. With the rapid changes in the workforce over the course of Brexit and the pandemic, there is a renewed focus on the need for good and meaningful work, that pays financially, as well as environmentally and socially, and responds to the needs of different communities.
There is mounting concern about the loss of farms in Wales to corporate tree planting and carbon trading. Drawing on FFCC’s work on natural capital with Middlesex University, we’ve been engaging with stakeholders across farming, food and finance to explore fair and equitable solutions to the natural capital question in a Welsh context.
In particular, there is growing interest in aggregated models for food producers who have a stake in natural capital, but need fairness embedded in the system to ensure they are not exploited by greenwashing schemes and unaccountable trading. In discussion with government and the Climate Change Commission, we plan to further investigate how a mutualised approach to natural capital can create the financial mechanisms needed to support farmers in this transition – while still protecting the cultural, linguistic and socio-economic fabric of rural Wales.
"Agroecology finds a broad pathway for resilient and sustainable farm businesses across Wales and the UK, taking more responsibility for UK food security. “
Hywel Morgan and FFCC Chief Executive Sue Pritchard put forward the case for farming with nature to create more dependable revenues.
The work of FFCC Wales is focussed on opportunities afforded by the distinctive Welsh legal and policy framework to make rapid progress towards a more sustainable future:
Through FFCC Wales, we support existing initiatives to map and develop a strong and networked food, farming and countryside sector. We work with the Food Policy Alliance Cymru, Natural Resources Wales, farming bodies, citizens action groups and other partners to enhance each other’s work, identify where there are gaps and help to find common ground.
Wales has a distinctive and progressive policy and legal framework, in particular, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which requires the Welsh Government and its public services to put the well-being of current and future generations at the heart of their delivery.
At county level, the development of statutory multi-agency Public Services Boards provides some early opportunities to integrate well-being objectives.
Wales’ landscape is made up of upland and mountainous areas, lowlands, coastal areas and islands. It has wetter climate than much of the rest of the UK. Agricultural land makes up over 80% of the land in Wales, much of which is grassland pasture and designated as ‘Less Favoured Areas’ under European Union designation. Urban development in Wales concentrates around the south and north ‘corridors’, with a large, sparsely populated and poorly-connected central belt. Inequalities are writ large: from the vibrant City regions and university towns, the remote rural villages, to the post-industrial landscapes – Wales is still dealing with the lasting impacts of that history.
In the early days of FFCC Wales, we worked with Carmarthenshire Public Services Board and Menter a Busnes to explore how public procurement could work more effectively to support the seven goals outlined in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Supported by a procurement specialist from Cardiff University, the Carmarthenshire Public Services Board resolved to use the collaborative purchasing power of its statutory public sector partnership members to influence local food supply chains. Separately, a group of farmers, growers and producers in North Wales was established with the support of Menter a Busnes, to look at supply chain barriers - the programme explored issues on both sides of the contracting relationship.
Across UK countries and counties, citizens are taking action. FFCC teams hit the road (on our bikes) in 2021 to find out how they are making change, and what government and business can do to support them. Together, these stories form our Field Guide for the Future