Food & Forest Strategy 

Behing the scenes from the day to day trade, the CIC works to enable an economically viable UK agroforestry. The information below charts the trajectory of this work to date. The two main strands to this are:

1. Advocating specific changes to the current grant system necessary to increase agroforestry uptake. 

2. Developing best practice in UK nut processing - looking to established methods in Italy, the USA and elsewhere whilst collaborating with existing UK producers. 

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Stage 1 - New Environmental Land Management Proposal 

 

The CIC founded November 2017 to ensure the errors in agriculutral state support were corrected in the wholesale legislative revue caused by Brexit. The principle error is the ineligibility of alley cropping for Forestry Commission woodland creation grants, or Defra administered countryside stewardship measures, despite the strong evidence base showing environmental and productive benefit.

 

In May 2018, the CIC submitted a proposal to the 'Health and Harmony' consultation highlighting this error. The consultation mantra of "public money for public good" underpinned the justification for grant support contained in the freely available document below. It matches state financial aid to the monetary value of sequestered carbon, using the UK government figure on the social cost of carbon (SCC) to accurately quantify.  The proposal in full availlable to download:

Background

The company focuses on one type of agroforestry; alley cropping. The combination of productive trees with arable farming, see below. Agroforestry often falls into the unfortunate utopian position of being everything and nothing at the same time; in its essence it is farming with trees. To avoid this, the CIC focuses on combining nut trees with cereal farms. . 

 

 

 

Stage 2 - New Environmental Land Management - Testing and Trials 

This proposal for a grant undrpinned by ecosystem service valuation, was taken into the testing and trials phase. Ministers and advisers at Defra are in widespread agreement on the environmental benefits of agroforestry, the task now entailed delivering the most effective mix of policy measures in the several agri-environment schemes. 

The proposal therefore evolved, not into a completely new grant, but into amendments to the woodland creation grant. Adapting an existing grant system with a prexisting funding structure was deemed the most streamlined approach. Especially given only 4 amendments are necessary. The principle problems with the existing woodland creation grant are as follows:

 

1.  Rigid demarcation between farming and forestry 

Page 13 - 3.2 Restrictions on agricultural activity in woodland areas

2. Ineligibility of nut producing varieties

Page 14 - 3.5.1 Guidelines on planting for biodiversity objectives

3.Minimum stand area

Page 13 - 3.4 Planting area thresholds, open space and tree specifications

November 2019, this synopsis of proposed amendments was issued:

Stage 3 - Government Amendments - April 2020

April 2020 - there are a series of updates to the 'hedgerow and boundaries' option and the Arable Offer as a whole in the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. These changes are being reviewed to assess the influence on alley cropping uptake and a response in progress. 

 

 

 

 

Agroforestry Incentive Package - A framework for Arable Farming 

How to Enable Alley Cropping - Specific Amendments to Existing Grants 

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Food & Forest, Borough Market, London, SE1 1TL