‘Eating Better’ visits a Pasture for Life farm

Eating Better is an alliance of more than 50 organisations working together to build consensus and develop collaborative approaches to influence policy to encourage healthier diets with a less, but better approach to meat eating.

They recently launched their report, Principles for Eating Meat and Dairy More Sustainably.

The PFLA may not agree with everything in their report, but we have worked closely with Eating Better to encourage them to understand what we believe ‘Eating Better’ should look like.

For instance, we welcomed an opportunity earlier in the year to comment on their report before it was published, and over the past few months have grown the relationship between the two organisations.

Farm visit

In June, Eating Better visited Romshed Farm and we hosted them with representatives from Friends of the Earth, Sustain, WWF, the Food Ethics Council, World Resources Institute and the Sustainable Restaurants Association.

Our research director Dave Stanley gave an overview of the ‘big’ picture and challenged us over the way we look at some of the environmental issues in food production.

This was followed by a walk around the farm and an opportunity to look at how different grazing management can produce a high diversity sward with an increase in clovers, vetches and trefoils, alongside a large variety of grass species and, in some cases, rarer plants appearing.

It was clear that stopping the use of synthetic fertiliser had generated the start of significant change in the plant species that thrive. Fields have now moved from less than eight species per m2 to 15 per m2 and more.

With such a range of interested organisations there was a good exchange of views and it was a very productive and enjoyable day.

Meeting the very contented Hereford cows and their calves proved a highlight and made the point how healthy, happy animals are an outcome of PFLA farming methods!

Fidelity will be taking part in a film produced later this month by Eating Better, discussing what eating better meat looks like.

Visitors from Defra

The following week, Fidelity hosted a visit from two Defra officials.  Alice Carter-Champion is carrying out a short project to pull together all the evidence from the UK on pasture-based livestock and farming systems.  She will be looking at the environmental impacts, GHG emissions, the effect of pasture-based systems on livestock welfare and the nutritional content of the subsequent meat.  One outcome of her work will be identifying gaps in knowledge.

It was very pleasing to have the opportunity to input into this research. Fidelity spent four hours with Alice and her colleague, Mark Jacobs, who is Senior Scientific Officer for Livestock Science and Future Farming evidence and analysis, walking around the farm.

Fidelity observed how very interested they were in the many wider outcomes of good grazing management and in particular of taking a holistic approach to decision-making on the farm.

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