New report: Rethink Food - A Plan for Action

United Kingdom
NFFN Reports

The NFFN’s Rethink Food campaign examines the myths, challenges and opportunities presented to farmers in the current food system. It seeks to explore the role of UK farmers in shaping a better food system from the farm ground up.

This work maps the legacy of our food system’s past and explains why we need to change how we farm our land and feed our nations. Our latest report, Rethink Food: A Plan for Action, demonstrates how a transition to nature-friendly farming can play a central role in addressing the interconnected food security, ecological and health challenges we face.

A food system close to breaking point

Over the past two years, the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and Brexit have exposed the fragility of a food system that is close to breaking point. We find ourselves at a critical moment in time; the need for change is more urgent now than ever before.

We have the opportunity to move forward to a future where nature-friendly farming is seen, acknowledged and valued as a key solution to the climate and ecological emergency whilst achieving real, long-term dietary health, food and nutritional security. Nature-friendly farming techniques can underpin the wellbeing of the UK. This is a critical moment for policymakers to support systemic change in the food system – to rethink food.

How nature-friendly farming meets the challenge

A transition to nature-friendly farming can play a key role in addressing the interconnected challenges we currently face:

  • Ensuring a resilient food supply for the UK;

  • Promoting diverse and healthy diets;

  • And taking urgent action to counter the climate and ecological emergencies. Farming differently can provide solutions to the nature and climate emergency – and provide us with reliable, nutritious, healthy food whilst remaining economically sustainable for farmers.

By taking nature-friendly farming to scale across the UK we can provide solutions to many of
the interconnected challenges we face, but the current policy landscape is not doing enough to make this happen. This is a critical moment for policymakers to support systemic change in the food system - to rethink food.

Key asks of policymakers

We call on food and agricultural policymakers to take action to make the food system we imagine a reality. In particular, we call for the UK and Devolved Governments to undertake the following actions to accelerate the transition towards the food and agricultural systems we need:

Policy and trade

  • Lead with strong, pro-nature agriculture and food policy

  • Accelerate the transition towards subsidies that support nature-friendly land

  • Develop land use strategies that acknowledge that nature and farming can work in

  • Ensure that trade policy sets high environmental standards for imported goods

  • Champion a global nature-positive food system

  • Communication and knowledge sharing

Communication and knowledge sharing

  • Fund farmer peer-to-peer learning

  • Support research into nature-friendly farming approaches

Supply chains and market opportunity

  • Facilitate collaboration to drive sustainable dietary change

  • Design a standardised environmental labelling process

  • Lead by example in public procurement

  • Encourage retailers to support farmer innovation

Download Key Actions for England


Download Key Actions for Scotland


Download Key Actions for Northern Ireland


Download Key Actions for Wales