Messages from the Oxford Real Farming Conference

Richard Boothman

I spent seven days in early January dipping in and out of the presentations and seminars offered by the Oxford Real Farming Conference.  I was one of more than 5000 delegates from across the world who attended this on-line event where all aspects of farming were discussed by around 500 presenters in 150 sessions.  Although this was a farming conference, many of the topics under discussion were about food and how we can make food production more secure, more sustainable, more nutritious and more socially acceptable.

There were three key messages I took away from the conference:

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Bees and neonicotinoids: rapid action on the environment

Andy Brown

You have to hand it to this government. It is capable of acting with real speed and determination. Not, of course, on every little detail. So, we are still waiting for an effective test, trace and isolate system. And people are still flying into the UK without any method of enforcing quarantine arrangements. And schools are still waiting for the delivery of laptops that will help children to learn from home.

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Biggest ever global online agroecology event underway

As reported to yesterday morning’s Green Café meeting, the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) is hosting its biggest ever global online event for agroecological farmers, growers and food producers between 7-13 January in an urgent bid to fix our broken food system. ORFC Global 2021 brings together over four thousand delegates, including leading voices in agroecological, organic and regenerative agriculture. It aims to catalyse radical action in the face of multiple global threats including climate change, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, poverty and Covid-19.

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Government could miss carbon cutting targets says Green think tank

Current Government plans add up to less than a quarter of the emissions cuts needed to achieve 2030 climate target, according to an end of year report by the independent think tank and charity Green Alliance. Despite the enormous challenge of battling a pandemic, the government made bold promises throughout 2020 to reduce emissions ahead of hosting next year’s UN climate summit in Glasgow. These included the ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, new plans for sustainable land management, ending the financing of fossil fuel projects abroad and the new target (nationally determined contribution) to reduce emissions by at least 68 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. This puts the UK ahead of other countries in setting targets for carbon emissions reduction, including the EU which has committed to a 55 per cent reduction by 2030. These ambitions need equally bold policies and the funding to succeed the report states.

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