FOOD AND FARMING AFTER BREXIT
Dr Charlie Clutterbuck
Wednesday 28 November, 7.15 - 8.45
Friends Meeting House, 28 Regent Place, Rugby, CV21 2PN
Charlie’s talk will include reaction to Gove's 'Green Brexit' which - while he runs the only government department to come up with any plan - is clearly written from some cosy city library. He wants more food exports when we should be trying to import less - now half our food (by value) is imported, half of that from the EU. Charlie will argue that the previous Common Agricultural Policy subsidies should not go to landowners nor greening but to labour costs - so we can pay decent wages to grow the stuff while customers keep cheap food. The idea of frictionless borders with 'just in time' food delivery systems consisting of thousands of ingredients is just plain ridiculous. The bigger issue of the 2,000 farm tariffs has barely been mentioned but is as important as 'the Repeal of the Corn Laws' 150 years ago. And where is Labour on this? Absolutely nowhere.
From the age of 12 Charlie wanted to 'feed the world' so took himself through school to Newcastle University to study Agricultural Zoology, then to what was at the time the best agricultural college in the world - Wye College, London University - to study for an MSc in Applied Plant Science and then a PhD in soil ecology (the effects of weedkillers on soil creatures). Only to realise that it was not of matter of producing more food but enabling people to buy it. The same with food banks now. So since then he has worked on 'the politics of food' and for 20+ years as a trade union tutor, and hence the opportunity to write 'Bittersweet Brexit' for Unite the Union.
Rebecca has been an organic grower for ten years. For the last five years she has worked at Five Acre Community Farm near Ryton on Dunsmore. Five Acre is a Community Supported Agriculture scheme, giving control of the farm to the members, who pay a subscription to get a share of the harvest all year round. The risks and rewards of farming are shared with the members, giving the farm a financially sustainable way of producing food for over 80 families locally. Rebecca will respond to Charlie’s talk and provide us with a local perspective.