From handouts to the super-rich to a hand-up for small-scale farmers

January 2017

In the wake of Brexit our agricultural policy is suddenly up for grabs. Since 1973, the UK farming sector has been shaped by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and its subsidies. One of the biggest criticisms is that it hands wealthy landowners millions of pounds from public funds, while smaller farmers receive little or nothing. There have been attempts to bring environmental factors into CAP, but they have been grossly inadequate. As a result, a system of large-scale industrial agriculture is rewarded while small-scale agroecological methods are largely ignored.

We should take this moment to reflect on the food and farming system that we want as a society. If we must design a policy from scratch then we must think it through from the very basics: What do we want our food policy to achieve? This paper aims to answer this question and considers the options that are available for achieving these objectives.

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