September update

Wiltshire Council and Local Food: at the full WC meeting on 21st July, Ros Edwards raised that local food producers and independent food outlets have been very important for food security during the Covid crisis, and asked, on behalf of CFB, how local food suppliers fit into WC’s Recovery Plan and could a local food map/ website and logo for Wiltshire produce be developed to enhance sense of provenance and ‘character of place’. The response from Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader of the Council, was encouraging and he said that “During the early stages of the Covid-19 response, WC identified food and farming as a critical sector for support.”

From the Farming Press: the risks to food security of over-reliance on crops for direct human consumption and for meat production (particularly the granivores – pork and poultry) is highlighted by the headline “Harvest Turmoil”, on the front of the Farmers Weekly (4th September). More erratic and extreme weather conditions over recent years, both here and globally, have often left farmers with very short windows of opportunities for planting and harvesting. Although there are gains and losses, this year in the UK some crops went unplanted, due to the winter flooding, and this summer, compounded by often poor harvest weather, yields and quality of cereals and oilseeds crops are generally way down and costs of production have rocketed (and the UK is facing the worst wheat harvest since the 1980’s. Elsewhere, the “derecho” wind phenomenon in the US has just levelled 10 million acres of corn; huge locust plagues have affected many countries in Africa, the Middle East, India and Pakistan this year; wild fires are still spreading in California and beyond and there are reports of food shortages in China.

Uplifting News: the only lowland farm run directly by the National Trust is now carbon negative, More here – and the demand for allotments has increased, more here – and Urban farming: four reasons it should flourish post-pandemic here