Knowledge for better food systems

Brexit and ‘Grow It Yourself’

This briefing from the Food Research Collaboration, the latest in its Food Brexit Briefings series, argues that the UK’s upcoming departure from the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy could allow agricultural subsidies to be redirected from large farms towards smaller farms and allotments, enabling more people to grow their own food.

The author, biologist Dave Goulson, argues that small-scale food production could be beneficial for biodiversity (particularly pollinators), allow pesticide use to be reduced, and offer high yields (albeit with labour-intensive production). Goulson estimates that allotment-style production could grow enough fruit and vegetables for the UK’s current consumption using 2% of the current area of farmland in the UK.

Read the full report, Brexit and Grow It Yourself (GIY): A golden opportunity for sustainable farming, here. See also the Foodsource building block What is land use and land use change?

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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