Helen O’Keefe from the Highland Good Food Partnership tells us why the Highlands need a transformational farm support system that engages with all farmers and crofters:
‘In the Highlands, most agricultural produce is exported, and most food consumed is imported, via long supply chains. Most farmers and crofters are managing high nature value areas yet are woefully undersupported through the current agricultural funding model.
‘We are facing depopulation and loss of traditional knowledge and culture because traditional farming and crofting is not economically viable. Our food system is highly vulnerable to national and global supply chain shocks, and we are seeing health problems from an over-reliance on heavily processed and low nutrition commercial food.
‘A thriving agricultural sector, embracing a diversity of scales and types of farming and crofting across the whole Highlands, is vital to achieve the Good Food Future that we envisage for the Highlands. We need a new, transformational support system that engages with ALL farmers and crofters, that rewards those who are already managing well for nature, as well as helping others to transition to more nature-friendly methods.
‘We need a system that supports small scale producers and shorter supply chains, helping us to build a more resilient food system, with lower food miles and better food availability for our widespread population. We need the government to be bold and determined, to not shy away from change, and to create a system that rewards those who are working to make things better.
‘We hope that, by being a part of the Farm For Scotland’s Future campaign, we can help to create a system that works for everybody, to create the best Food Future, not just for the Highlands, but for all of Scotland.’
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of all the organisations backing the Farm for Scotland’s Future campaign.