West Wales farmer driving tractor to London for farming march
A west Wales farmer is driving his tractor all the way to London for a march on Saturday where farmers, food producers and food system workers will demand the UK’s governments take urgent action to support the UK food and farming system.
The march is being organised by The Landworkers’ Alliance – a grassroots union representing over 2,200 farmers, foresters and land-based workers in the UK – in collaboration with over a dozen other food and agriculture organisations including Save British Farming, the Sustain Alliance and the Nature-Friendly Farming Network.
It will start at 12pm in Parliament Square, and is family friendly. There will be lots of colourful banners, tractors, costumes and songs as well as a harvest festival display and homemade, home-grown food in Parliament Square. Speeches will end around 5pm.
Gerald Miles, 74, is an organic farmer from Caerhys Farm, near St Davids, Pembrokeshire, and is part of Caerhys Organic Community Agriculture, a scheme that sees locals and farmers grow their own food.
He set out from his farm on a tractor on Monday Oct 10, to travel to London for the march. His journey will take four days, travelling at 15 mph. He plans to lead the march in London on his tractor.
“I am making my way to London which will take me four days. I want to make the biggest protest possible to keep the government’s environmental land management schemes (ELMS), save nature, stop the deregulation of genetically modified crops and support young farmers and young people trying to go back to the land.
“I am passionate about creating a farming and food system that is good for people and the planet and have dedicated my life to growing local, healthy food and campaigning for the government to support small-scale, agroecological farms and make it easier for new entrants to begin their careers.”
‘We need change’
Jyoti Fernandes, the Landworkers’ Alliance Policy and Campaigns Coordinator and co-founder, is one of the lead organisers of the march.
“The governments in the UK aren’t doing enough to implement the kind of transition we urgently need in our food and farming systems. We need change, and we need it now. That’s why we’re bringing consumers, farmers, growers, youth, activists, change-makers and food system workers together to march in London and demand that policymakers take action.
“We are committed to effective ELMS for a just transition to a secure food supply that doesn’t destroy the environment and are calling on the new government to increase the ELMS budget to deliver real benefits.”
The list of demands for the march include a right to food to be put into UK law, more government support schemes for young people and marginalised groups to enter farming, and a bigger budget for agricultural support schemes.
The LWA and its allies also want to see the new government protect the UK’s high growing standards in upcoming trade deals, so they are not undercut by imported food grown with lower environmental and quality standards. They fear the government’s economic growth agenda will be prioritised to the detriment of these hard-won standards,
The march is part of a European-wide Good Food, Good Farming Day of Action to coincide with World Food Day on October 16.
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I shall track his progress using Google Maps traffic overlay. There is likely to be a 5 mile tailback behind him the whole way.
I fear he won’t get far up the M4.
In our country Wales as I believe in others it is perfectly legal to use a tractor on any highway including motorways in times of emergency and this sure is one of them
Truss me it’s a Kwasikazi moment not a plug for John Deere