Last chance to influence the future of local food and farming in the Downs!

At the Food Partnership we always get excited about consultations which have anything to do with food – but for this particular one it’s not just us who are excited but many who love the Downs!

Brighton and Hove City Council own a large chunk of the Downland all around the city, most of which is rented out to farmers. The Downland was bought originally in order to ensure the purity of the city’s water supply. The water we drink filters through the chalk so what goes onto the land ends up in our water pipes (though a good 40 years later I am told).

Our Downland landscape, particularly the roling chalk grassland, is the product of farming – especially grazing – over many hundreds of years. The city council is asking local people about how they should manage the estate over the next 100 years – so this is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity to influence that future.

Our Brighton & Hove Food Partnership response to the consultation sets out a vision that includes

  • Climate friendly agriculture! – encouraging organic and regenerative farming methods (these hold more carbon as well as helping wildlife, regenerating soil, and protecting our water supply)
  • Connecting people with food production – education, more locally produced food getting sold locally, with more jobs and opportunities for local people in organic and regenerative agriculture
  • A community run farm! To act as a pilot and showcase for the very best community-led climate and nature friendly farming, with community access and involvement

It’s the final to chance to respond to this stage of the consultation (closing date is 21st March) – though do keep checking the council website website for future consultation events. For this key phase there are several different ways to have your say.

Easiest – Go to the climate change conversation portal. Answer any of the 10 questions in the box on the right hand side by clicking ‘next’. Skip any that you don’t want to answer – but please rate very highly ‘The importance of requiring farms to adopt more sustainable (such as organic or regenerative) farming practice’. Don’t forget to click submit!

Next easiest – Join the climate change conversation on the left hand side of the same page here and leave a comment to stress the importance of ‘including the food’ in the climate change conversation. For inspiration you can read our food and climate change infographic below.

Food and climate change

Feeling keen – Complete up to four separate online questionnaire(s) on the main information and consultation page by clicking ‘key themes’ on the right (the most relevant theme for food is Land Use and Management).

Gold standard involvement– Email a consultation response to citydownlandestateplan@brighton-hove.gov.uk. If you want ideas you can look at the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership response or just say you support it.

We are part of the Brighton Downs Alliance and there’s more information on other aspects of the consultation on their website.

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