Harrogate, Knaresborough and District Green Party Letter Published in Harrogate Advertiser

21 June 2019

It’s excellent that you publish a regular column from a young farmer, Frances Graham, since discussion about land use and what we eat is few and far between.  The article last week was based on the idea of rewilding discussed by a professional panel at Nidderdale High School.   Frances says that ‘farmers don’t get enough publicity about the food they produce on these densely populated islands,’ and I agree with him.


Two main thoughts come to mind from reading his article:   1. that we in rich countries are (in general) eating far more meat (and dairy) than is good for us, other creatures and our planet.  If we regarded meat/dairy as a rare treat rather than an everyday food, then animal  and land welfare could be far higher with no animals having to suffer intensive rearing  (e.g. cows never seeing a blade of grass).  2.  Intensive farming – to produce ‘cheap’ food -  means that  giant machinery and reliance on poisons (which remain in our food) dominate farming practice.  Small mixed farms have been pushed out by  corporate agribusiness which has ruined our land (removing trees and hedges,  overworking soils and mistreating animals).  We need to support our local mixed farms, then wilding some land could be part of the mix.  ‘Wilding’ by Isabella Tree is a fascinating account of a family farm which stepped out of the race with the corporate ‘farmers’ – leading to amazing results.  


Obviously we need farmers to grow our food, but, in the context of the related emergencies of climate, extinctions, resource (including water) shortages,  massive inequality and a cancer epidemic in rich countries, we need to take  a long hard look at what we want, and what we do - personally as well as politically.  




Shan Oakes

Parliamentary Candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough

Harrogate and District Green Party