The present economic model of production is unsustainable, both ecologically and socially speaking. The majority of our food is produced through chemical and often intensive agricultural systems, shown, through wide research, to be linked to problems with soil depletion, decreasing biodiversity levels, water pollution, animal welfare issues, consumer health issues and climate change. On a global scale the production of cheap products are further linked to land rights issues, deforestation, extreme poverty and global conflict.
It is argued by many that local, small scale sustainable production is the obvious model to address these issues. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation 1 found organic agriculture, could provide sufficient nutrition for the world population. Equally it could address energy and pollution issues, fair treatment of workers and the creation of rural employment opportunities.
Although organic sales have increased in recent years 2, a number of factors make this hard to sustain:
- Historically low levels of government support for small scale organic producers 3
- Unrealistically low prices due to supermarket pressure and cheap imports
- Shortage and high cost of small areas of land 4
Inspired by the pioneering work of the Bio Regional Development Group and others across the globe, we wish to offer a true alternative to our current production model. Through practising and promoting sustainable agriculture, and supporting rurally based social enterprise linked to local urban centres, the Kindling Trust will demonstrate the viability of local network production as a truly sustainable way to move towards a carbon positive society, that meets needs and enhances quality of life, without relying on the poverty of others or the unsustainable use of resources.
Examples of delivery include:
- Create a Social Enterprise Zone – provision of land, workshop space and equipment at supportive rates, as well as access to business support and advice (e.g. internet, ICT support, legal and financial advice etc.) to help establish progressive social enterprises.
- Create and promote network production as a way of meeting demand and promoting local resilience. Facilitate small social enterprises to meet local demand, but with a network of small producers that can ensure consistency of supply and quality.
- Develop Rural-Urban Partnerships by coupling existing rural and urban social enterprises to exchange products, materials, knowledge etc., and support new initiatives to meet gaps in the market. Additionally we will identify and use the most ecologically and socially sustainable way to broker such trade.
- Research and demonstrate sustainable land use through our own practices and supporting other land based enterprises and projects; researching and using organic, low energy production methods as well as researching and practising crop diversification to increase local resilience in the face of climate change.
- 1. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), (2007), International conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security, Italy.
- 2. Williamson, S. (2007), Organic Market Report 2007, Soil Association, Bristol.
- 3. Gala, R (2005) Agriculture without farmers [online] available at:
- 4. Williamson, S. (2007), Organic Market Report 2007, Soil Association, Bristol.