Inquiry – Agroecology as a Nature Based Solution

Context

The United Kingdom is currently undergoing a fundamental shift as it looks to revolutionise its approach to farming and land-use, through measures such as the Agriculture Act, Environment Bill, Environmental Land Management Scheme, the Government’s 10 Point Plan, and others.

Each of these schemes are planned to change the frameworks in which funding and policy are applied to farmers and land users, putting a greater emphasis on sustainable land management and the natural environment. This includes encouraging and promoting nature-based solutions as ways to approach land use. For example, earlier this year, the Government announced a £10m fund, offering ‘grants of up to £100,000 to projects that will create and restore natural habitats while assisting with key government frameworks.’

At present, agroecology as a specific term of use is not considered a ‘nature-based solution’, prohibiting payments and support for this as an application. This is despite an increasing number of farmers adopting agroecological practices and agroecology being referenced as a specific term in the Agriculture Act 2020.

The APPG therefore wishes to seek the views of Parliamentarians, stakeholders, supporters, and the public on whether agroecology should be seen as a nature-based solution and, if so, the best way to integrate this within the existing and planned policy/legislature.

The Inquiry will run until Friday 7th May and we hope to have an online evidence session in mid-April.

Please email agroecology.appg@gmail.com to submit your response and register your interest in engaging with this inquiry.

Terminology:

Agroecology uses ecological principles to ensure the productivity of the farm whilst also conserving natural resources (as in organic farming), as well as taking into account the wider social and economic context as it affects farmers and rural communities. In agroecological systems each individual farm is conceived as an eco-system, producing sustainable amounts of high-quality food while conserving natural abundance and biodiversity.

Approaches to farming such as agroecology (including organic) offer such ‘bigger picture’ approaches to farming and land management, which would naturally provide the largest amount of public goods, and to a greater extent, than the direct pursuit of specific public goods ever could.

Nature Based Solutions ‘involve working with nature to address societal challenges, providing benefits for both human well-being, biodiversity, and climate change. Specifically, they are actions that involve the protection, restoration, or management of natural and semi-natural ecosystems; the sustainable management of aquatic systems and working lands such as croplands or timberlands; or the creation of novel ecosystems in and around cities. They are actions that are underpinned by biodiversity and are designed and implemented with the full engagement and consent of local communities and within an international context Indigenous Peoples.’