How we farm is vital to nature’s recovery, and our own. Recently, RSPB NI hosted a series of webinars in partnership with the Nature Friendly Farming Network to demonstrate how a reformed food and farming system can benefit both people and the planet. For anyone who missed the events, here's what you need to know.
Guest blog by Phi Carson, RSPB NI Policy Officer (Sustainable Farming).

1. Sustainable land management is vital for more than just food production

Food, farming and the environment have found themselves firmly in the spotlight due to the Covid-19 crisis. We don’t have to look too far back to remember the empty supermarket shelves as the initial panic from the pandemic impacted our food supply chains. Thoughts of food security and building greater resilience in our food and farming systems have subsequently come to the forefront of our minds. Similarly, lockdown demonstrated the importance of the environment to our health, wellbeing and future prosperity. Many of us found solace in being able to engage with nature as other aspects of our lives ground to a standstill. This experience has highlighted a growing appetite for change, with widespread calls for a green recovery as we continue to emerge from the pandemic.

Chris Clark author of 'Less is more' report
Chris Clark, author of the 'Less is more' report, discusses why it's vital to farm in harmony with nature

2. Future farming and land use policies are key to enabling a green recovery

Farming and land management has a vital role to play in delivering the natural services we desperately need: the restoration of nature; the storing and sequestering of carbon; and through the provision of cleaner water, air and soil health. Previous policies have failed to support farming to deliver these ambitions and have been a contributing factor in widespread environmental decline. We need new policies to help deliver a transition towards more sustainable, nature friendly farming and to agree trade deals with high standards that will ensure farmers who manage their land working with nature, rather than against it, will be championed and supported.

How to safeguard our future with nature friendly farming policies
Charlie Cole of Broughgammon Farm and the Nature Friendly Farming Network explains why future trade deals must champion farmers who manage their land in a sustainable way

3. An investment in nature friendly farming is an essential investment for our future

Our long-term food security and wider prosperity is dependent upon a thriving natural environment and stable climate. Over recent years, more intensive agriculture has led to a decline in the health of our soil, air and water quality, and variety of plant and animal life. Our expert panellists, including members of the Nature Friendly Farming Network, demonstrated how long-term investment, alongside the right policies to reward sustainable farming practises, can provide solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing us today; all whilst delivering a more profitable future for the farming sector.