The Rural-First Economy

18 NOVEMBER 2021

Agriculture is reported to be responsible for circa 10% of the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and up to 30% globally. Creating the conditions for investment in going green will not only improve the environmental and productivity performance of this sector, it will have trickle out benefits for society and the wider economy. 

Following on from COP26, we host this fringe event on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the role of rural business in combating climate change. Agriculture and farming have a direct impact on at least seven of the 17 SDGs, from hunger, health and decent work opportunities to clean energy, sustainable communities, life on land and climate action. 

We investigate the role of food, farming and land-owning businesses in creating a sustainable, just and ambitious food system which provides for healthy people and environmental recovery. And, we look into the ways in which those same businesses will increasingly provide environmental services – such as natural resource management, environmental stewardship, carbon sinks, biofuels and clean energy – to power a more sustainable and resilient UK plc.

We propose that as nature is a ‘limit to growth’, those who harvest, manage and conserve its resources are best placed to drive forward Green UK plc. 

Luke Pollard MP

Luke Pollard MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Luke was first elected as the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport in June 2017. Luke has served many roles on Labour’s Shadow Environment Team, as PPS to former Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman, and as the Shadow Minister for Fishing, Water, Coastal Communities. He was promoted to Shadow Environment Secretary himself in January 2020. Luke is an energetic fighter within Westminster for fishing and farming across the country.

Natalie Bennett

Natalie Bennett

Green Party Peer, House of Lords

Natalie, also known Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, migrated to the UK in 1999 after obtaining a degree in agricultural science from the University of Sydney and working on farms in Australia. She spent two years in Bangkok working with the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, on its report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. She also worked as a consultant with the International Labor Organisation (ILO) on child labour issues and World Health Organization (WHO) on women’s health. She’s a champion of the universal basic income, and is particularly interested in food security and farming issues, and supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She was leader of the Green Party of England and Wales from 2012-2016 and is a member of the board of the European Green Foundation.

Dr Trisha Toop

Dr Trisha Toop

Chief Technical Officer, Agri-EPI

Dr Trisha Toop joined Agri-EPI from Harper Adams University and is an expert in sustainable systems development with a passion in transforming agricultural systems through the use of novel targeted smart technology. Dr Toop works with project partners, governments, industry and the international agri-tech community to drive help Agri-EPI’s technological vision and strategy.

Trisha started out in the automotive engineering sector, before completing a degree in genetics and biochemistry. After winning a national competition which funded an interdisciplinary PhD in engineering and biochemistry, the focus of her work has been on the development of novel sustainable products and processes in the agri-food and agri-tech sectors. Trisha has worked with companies of all sizes across these sectors assisting them with innovation and facilitating cutting edge research with a global impact. She has worked as a research scientist, sustainability and techno-economic analysis expert and innovation manager for a number of companies.

Steve Elnor

Steve Elnor

Diversified Farm Business Owner and Save British Farming

Steve is a diversified farm business owner who, for over a decade, combined managing his own businesses with employment off farm, but is now solely focussed on his own business and growing the Millside Wigwams glamping site in particular. Steve’s enterprises include glamping site with Wigwam Holidays, caravan storage and Caravan Club CL, combinable cropping, sheep and cattle, and previously a dairy farm. His off farm work involved agriculture-related roles in banking (HSBC), Regional Feedstock Manager at Qila Energy and Farm Liaison Manager at Whites Recycling Limited.

Related RED Talks

A Sustainable Rural Economy

EV in Food & Farming

ELM & Commercial Opportunities