Brexit & Food Poverty


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Brexit has caused a seismic shift in farming. While there are challenges to overcome, could there also be an opportunity to fix our food system? 

In the third RED Talk in the Food Price Wars series, we discuss the impact of exiting the EU on the rural frontline and how it affects the food system including food standards, food pricing and health. 42% of farms are predicted to become loss-making as we move away from the current system of farm subsidies and towards the Environmental Land Management Schemes.

This will radically reshape our food system and, together with a new framework of international trade deals, how we secure food. It is important that as the food system evolves, it becomes better equipped to deliver nutritional security to the most vulnerable in society.  It is equally important to address the ‘business end’ of the food system. Notably, how farms can ease their transition to ELMS to remain financially sustainable – for their own benefit and for the benefit of the local communities and rural businesses that depend on them. 

And ultimately, we ask whether Brexit will help British food and farming towards a more just, more sustainable food future. 

Christine Jardine

Christine Jardine

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Treasury, Exiting the European Union, Europe and International Trade

Christine has been the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Edinburgh West since 2017 and Spokesperson for Treasury since September 2020, along with her concurrent roles as Spokesperson for International Trade and Exiting the European Union.  Before entering politics, Christine was an Edinburgh-based journalist and broadcaster who had written for the Scotsman, worked for the BBC and was editor of the Press Association in Scotland. She also taught both post and undergraduate students at the University of the West of Scotland, having run the postgraduate practical journalism course at the Scottish Centre for Journalism Studies for 5 years.

Nick von Westenholz

Nick von Westenholz

Director of Trade & Business Strategy, NFU

In addition to his role as a director with the NFU, Nick is a member of the government’s Strategic Trade Advisory Group (STAG); a forum for government to engage with industry experts on the UK’s future trade deals. Prior to his current role, Nick was the NFU’s Director for EU Exit and International Trade. Nick has also previously served as Chief Executive of the Crop Protection Association (CPA), representing the UK plant science industry and promoting the development and manufacture of a wide range of plant science technologies including synthetic and bio pesticides, seed and plant breeding and agricultural biotechnology. Nick has enjoyed a varied career both within and outside agriculture. Prior to the CPA, Nick was Head of Government Affairs at the NFU, responsible for managing the organisation’s political relations and heading up its London office. He worked for a London-based public affairs agency for many years, advising companies and organisations across a wide range of sectors on media and political relations. He also trained as a lawyer, being called to the Bar in 2007. He lives with his wife and two children on the family’s arable farm in East Hertfordshire, which is managed in partnership with two neighbouring farm businesses.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

Senior Corporate Consultant, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, CFO and Founder & Chair, Rural Policy Group

Mark is a Chartered Accountant, corporate financier and consultant with special interests in food & farming, rural business, ESG and the belief that business must be underpinned by sustainable finance. He established Rural Policy Group in 2019 following 16 years in the rural economy working with both public and private sector businesses. Mark has won numerous awards for his work including Finance Director of the Year 2007, Accounting for Sustainability 2012 (ICEAW), National Business Finance Director 2014 (Finance Director) and the Institute of Directors Blue Ribbon award for Governance and Finance Excellence in 2018.

Sarah Calcutt

Sarah Calcutt

Chair of the National Fruit Show and NED of Covent Garden Market Authority

Sarah is a 6th generation farmer from the Weald of Kent.  Originally trained as a classical musician she had returned to the family business by her mid 20’s and has spent the subsequent 20 years working within the vibrant food and farming community of the UK. In addition to running Partners in Produce Ltd, her successful business growth and communications consultancy, she is also the Operations Director of British Apples and Pears Ltd, Chair of the National Fruit show, SE Chair of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust, Council member of the Rural Policy Group and NED for Tech fresh produce start-up business COGZ.

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