Sustainable farming

Friends of the Earth’s vision is of a world where everyone has enough to eat while farmers, and the nature they depend on, are protected.

Better food production

Climate change, soil degradation, water shortages and a lack of agricultural diversity are some of the greatest threats to farming and food production. 

So how can we meet these challenges, and support better food production?

Improving the way we produce food is complex, but it’s not about blaming the world’s growing population (pdf). There are lots of positive solutions.

Key briefings

Our position paper: Feeding the World (pdf)

Our farming solutions include:

  • Agricultural policy that helps farmers increase yields and resilience to climate change, through crop and livestock diversification and protecting biodiversity.
  • Countries focusing on meeting their own food needs rather than export-led agriculture and intensive farming. Controlling land grabbing is key to this. 
  • Farmers having better access to markets and a fair price for what they produce. In the UK, for example, supermarket buying power (pdf) is indirectly damaging our planet, as squeezed farmers are less likely to invest in measures to help the environment on their land.
  • Low-income farmers in developing countries having better access to seeds without corporate ownership of seed patents.
  • Research for Friends of the Earth and Compassion in World Farming explains how we can feed a growing global population without environmentally damaging factory farms (pdf)

Farming after Brexit

When Britian leaves the EU the European laws that decide how we produce and consume food - from animal welfare to food safety - will need to be replicated or replaced in UK law.

This offers both threats of lower standards for consumers and the environment, and opportunities for us to improve the current system

Friends of the Earth has joined forces with farmers, consumers and other charities to develop ideas about how the UK farming system could be improved after Brexit.

We think it is important that whatever happens after the UK leaves the EU, we improve the sustainbility of our food system and support farmers to produce food in ways that don't harm the environment. 

Key briefings

Brexit: Hope for UK agriculture? A briefing produced for Friends of the Earth by Emily Diamand (pdf)

Agriculture at a crossroads: A Greener UK food and farming briefing (pdf)

Take action - tell your MP not to let Brexit ruin our food standards

Prevent Bad Food Britain

The truth about GM

Science has an important role to play in farming but some technologies are better than others.

For example the GM (genetically modified) crops in commercial use are not a significant part of the solution to food production. In fact they can often make the problems worse (pdf).

Key briefings

Our position paper: Genetically modified crops (pdf)

GM crops and food security (pdf)


Support great farmers by pledging to adopt a sustainable diet:

I want to Eat Better