Use your vote for farming and nature
Tuesday, 25th June 2024 by Chen

Half of fruit and veg farmers fear going out of business next year. Farming is a leading cause of river pollution and biodiversity loss. And farmers committing to nature-friendly methods are struggling to make a living. Meanwhile a quarter of people in the UK are living with obesity that increases the risk of serious health issues.

The general election is an opportunity to choose candidates who will put food and farming and the health of people, nature and planet high on their agendas. 

We’ve pooled some resources from organisations doing great work in this space and suggested some questions you can ask your candidates if you meet them at hustings or on your doorstep, or if you would like to write to them.

They’re based on the comprehensive toolkit put together by our friends at Sustain as well as some questions inspired by the Landworkers’ Alliance, Soil Association and others.

How will you help farmers?

A record number of farmers are at risk of going out of business and are at the sharp end of unfair trading practices by supermarkets and food manufacturers. 

What incentives will you champion as an MP for farmers and the big businesses who buy their food, to accelerate the transition to nature-friendly farming, grow our local food economy and ensure farmers are treated fairly?

Will you commit to doubling the farming budget? 

The UK Government spends only 0.4% of public spending on farming. We'd like to see this figure double to support farmers to transition to nature-friendly practices and reward those who are already farming in a sustainable way. 

Will you build and invest in localised food systems, and train and support a new generation of landworkers into the sustainable farming sector?

Will you increase spending on environmental protection?

Since 1970 UK species have declined by about 19% on average, and nearly 1 in 6 species are now threatened with extinction.

How will you ensure biodiversity is nurtured and protected?

How will you support fairer supply chains?

The Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) and supply chain regulations do not go far enough to cover regulatory gaps and reduce non-compliance by retailers. 
How will you support local and fair supply chains and ensure that supermarkets operate responsibly across the UK in terms of public health, environmental health, and fair pay and reward across the food and farming sector?

How will you ensure public-sector food supports healthier, low-carbon diets?

What will you do as an MP to ensure food procurement for schools, care homes and hospitals drives healthier diets and support for low-carbon and nature-friendly farming?

How will you make sure children are healthy and nourished?

Healthy school meals introduce children to a lifetime of enjoyable food and sociability, improve diet quality and help combat food related ill health, saving the NHS money. 
What will you do to ensure all children are able to have a healthy, nutritious meal every day in school?

How will you promote healthier food environments?

Local authorities have limited capacity and powers to tackle unhealthy food advertising and prevalence of unhealthy food takeaways. 
Will you strengthen national planning policies and guidance to support the development of healthy food environments?

How will you address the climate emergency?

Thanks to a recent court ruling, the new government will be required to release a new climate change plan in the next 12 months. 
What comprehensive and ambitious plans will you introduce to cut emissions from farming, land use and our diets?

Beyond food and farming, check out your candidates' plans for supporting renewable energy over fossil fuels, tackling air and water pollution, and setting – and meeting – ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions.

Check out the Soil Association’s manifesto.
See Sustain’s Election Toolkit.
Follow and support the Landworkers Alliance
Join Greenpeace’s Project Climate Vote and pledge to vote with climate in mind, and hold politicians to account on their climate policies – now, at the election and in future 
Check out The Food Foundation’s guide to the party manifestos as they relate to healthy and sustainable food.