Three themes were especially salient at the ORFC 2020:
- the criteria for allocating subsidies to farmers/land managers for providing public services such as flood prevention or enhancing biodiversity
- the land sharing vs land sparing debate and the implications of these approaches for how we produce our food
- a recognition of the climate crisis and the urgent need to reduce the carbon footprint of food and farming systems
Much of the discussion centred on how to support farmers, on already narrow profit margins, in transitioning towards more sustainable farming practices and on how to encourage consumers to eat ‘less but better quality’ meat. There was a sense that the environmental pressures are mounting and how we respond within the next 10 years will shape how successful or otherwise we are in averting the climate crisis.