Knowledge for better food systems

Maximising benefits from local authority-owned farms

This report, commissioned by the UK countryside charity CPRE, assesses the current state of “county farms” - i.e. farms owned by local authorities, sometimes let out at below-market rates to assist new entrants to farming. It finds that the area of county farms has halved in the past 40 years as a result of being sold off.

The report recommends that the UK government should halt the sale of county farms, that local councils should report on how they intend to maximise social and environmental benefits from their county farms, that councils should be offered additional funding to invest in and buy new county farms, and that councils should help their farm tenants to access post-Brexit farm payments for nature protection, carbon storage and public access.

Read the full report, Reviving county farms, here. See also the Foodsource resource How far could changes in production practices reduce GHG emissions?

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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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