South-west farmers in dialogue at COP26 for food systems change

Farmers from south-west Scotland joined over 150 others from four different continents to bring food systems to COP26.

By Brian Yule
Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 2:16 pm
Farmers who were involved in the dialogue gather at Torr Farm
Farmers who were involved in the dialogue gather at Torr Farm

The Global Fork to Farm Dialogue, hosted by Nourish Scotland, brought these food system actors together to build on the lessons learned from local farmer-city dialogues in over 20 locations that have been taking place since January 2020.

The event was a ‘day without speeches’, instead opting for roundtable discussions and frank exchange, an opportunity to build the relationships of trust that are needed to work together towards sustainable food systems.

Pete Ritchie, director of Nourish Scotland, stated food systems account for one third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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The Fork to Farm Global dialogue allowed different people to build the mutual understanding and cooperation necessary to ensure that the road from Glasgow to the Paris Agreement goals passes through a farm gate.

Abi Mordin, facilitator of the Fork to Farm southwest project and founding member of Propagate, said: "Facilitating this dialogue over the last six months has been interesting, enjoyable and rewarding.

"Our group of farmers hailed from different farming practices - beef cattle, sheep, dairy, veg production - and at different scales.

“We have explored issues facing farmers from the climate and nature emergencies, as well as other system shocks. Together we have envisioned an agroecological future.

“We want to see a farming future that is diverse and resilient. We believe that this future is both possible and essential, and food producers need to be at the heart of a sustainable transition in agriculture."

Mr Ritchie added: “It’s time COP26 recognises that food and local action are at the heart of the global climate emergency.

“Food unites and diversifies the world, but the current industrialised food system degrades our environment and increases emissions. It’s a senseless system that is vulnerable to the very climate change effects that it perpetuates.

“Many farmers are on the frontline of climate change and they should be the drivers rather than the objects of change.”