Encouraging British farmers to Grow Green
The animal farming sector’s impact on the planet has been persistently neglected – in both policy and practice – for decades. Our Grow Green campaign aims to tackle this with a shift towards plant protein agriculture.
Our Grow Green report outlines the ways that a transition away from animal farming and towards growing protein crops for human consumption, not only benefits the millions of farmed animals raised for slaughter each year, but also the health of the population and the health of our planet.
The magnitude of the threat of climate change and the importance of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next few decades makes reducing our reliance on animal farming in countries such as the UK, an essential solution.
Did you know?
The global contribution of animal farming to GHG emissions is agreed to be at least 14.5%, more than emissions from all transport combined.
UK residents currently eat an average of around 50% more protein than recommended in a healthy diet. A YouGov poll held in the UK in 2013 found that a quarter of respondents said they had reduced their meat consumption over the previous year. The poll also identified a higher percentage of people willing to consider eating less meat in the future.
The UK provides good conditions for growing plant proteins for direct human consumption, such as fava beans, peas, hemp seed, or sweet lupin. However, the UK currently assigns only 16% of its agricultural land to growing protein crops, much of which are used to feed farmed animals.
The aim of the Grow Green initiative is to offer a solution driven approach to tackling the negative impact that the livestock sector has on animals, climate change and food security.
To this end, the objective of this initiative is to call on the government to incentivise the UK production of protein crops for human consumption by supporting UK farmers who are interested in transitioning from animal farming to growing more local, sustainable crops such as pulses.
We believe that the government should encourage this transition as part of a more comprehensive framework, where the increase of protein crops is accompanied by the creation of new markets. New markets to this end would provide healthy alternatives to animal products. This is perfectly aligned with the Food and Agriculture Organisation‘s recommendations, in the UN International Year of Pulses.
This transition would not only contribute to the UK's GHG reduction targets and reduce the threat of food security but would in addition help to:
• Promote a more sustainable food chain in the UK;
• Encourage continuity of employment to young farmers in a climate change era (where a heavy dependency on imported feed crops will not be an option any more);
• Satisfy the nutritional needs of the UK population in healthier ways;
• Address the biodiversity threat;
• Eliminate the unnecessary suffering of millions of animals.
You can find a copy of the Grow Green report here. To arrange a meeting to discuss these proposals, please email: campaigns[at]vegansociety[dot]com.
“I am fully in support of these proposals” – Paul Flynn MP
“I would welcome any proposals to help farmers who want to move away from meat production to crop production” – Steve McCabe MP
“I very much support the Grow Green Initiative aims which seem pretty comprehensive” – Henry Smith MP
The Grow Green team are working with farmers who are interested in transitioning away from animal farming and towards growing protein crops for the human-consumption market.
Moving towards growing protein crops for human consumption can bring a number of benefits to farmers, including:
• Reducing fertiliser usage - as protein crops like pulses are natural nitrogen fixers;
• Providing a valuable addition to crop rotations, significantly benefitting the next crop, therefore reducing input costs and increasing yields;
• Reducing the reliance on animal manures for fertility. Growing both grain and green manure legumes reduces the risks associated with animal manures, such as varying costs, availability, and potential contamination;
• Improving the wellbeing of individual farmers. Farm business incomes can be low and uncertain particularly for farmers relying on animals. Tight economic margins, increasing care costs such as feed and veterinary care, and low farmer confidence are all realities for animal farmers;
• Growing protein crops can offer a positive alternative livelihood for farmers with lower and more stable input costs.If you are a farmer and want to find out more about growing protein crops for human consumption, you can get in touch with us at: campaigns[at]vegansociety[dot]com
What can you do?
Send the Grow Green report. We need your help lobbying parliamentarians to support our aims. You can use the form below to send an email to your MP asking them to support the Grow Green campaign.
Share your experiences. Please email campaigns[at]vegansociety[dot]com with any responses you receive.
Keep up-to-date. Follow Grow Green on Twitter to receive updates on our campaign.
Donate. With your help, we can promote this issue to more decision-makers and farmers. To donate, just text VGN44 followed by your donation sum (e.g. £10) to 70070 now. You can donate in other ways here. Thank you.