On Sunday, I attended the annual harvest festival service at Gloucester Cathedral led by Gloucestershire’s National Farmers Union.
This is a lovely event which sees the farming community, food producers and friends coming together to celebrate the fruits of their labour.
Harvest time is a particularly appropriate time to focus on how we produce our food.
Farmers desperately need wider support, especially as they are at the frontline of the uncertainty posed by Brexit.
What is certain is that a No Deal Brexit would be catastrophic for our farmers and landscape.
It’s clear that we need the Agriculture Bill to be in place as soon as a matter of extreme urgency but this has now been dropped twice by this Government, leaving our farmers with scant reassurance that the Government has their interests as a priority.
We need to recognise how vulnerable many of our farmers are and put sustainable farming and agroecology at the heart of farming policy for the future.
While the Agriculture Bill will put in place a new system of payments to farmers, the detailed preparations have not been carried out, for instance the trials of the Environmental Land Management Scheme are behind schedule. It must be our priority to look at how we are going to feed ourselves going into the future, especially given the fact that the UK is only 61 per cent self-sufficient.
Our food supply is fundamental yet it is failing in many ways. Farmers are living with uncertainty, thousands of people rely on foodbanks and charities and schools tell me children are going hungry. Now, more than ever, ensuring that we support our farmers, landscape and food supply, should be our priority.
Join me at Stroud Subscription Rooms on Monday 14 October, 10am for my Café Politics event. All welcome at this free event which is an opportunity to discuss all kinds of issues in an informal setting.