The East of England Rural Forum (EERF)

Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy Sub Group

The Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy Sub Group (SFFS) is reorganising itself to create an East of England Food and Agriculture Board (FAB) and the inaugural meeting will be held in July 2011.

The Government’s Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy (SFFS) was published in December 2002. Drawing on the report of Sir Don Curry’s Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, it set out a national vision for the future of the Food and Farming sectors in England.

Development of the East of England Delivery Plan for Sustainable Farming and Food was led by a partnership of public and private sector organisations that included representatives from the food and farming industries.

An integrated action plan was produced in March 2006, to progress the agendas set out in these two complementary processes. To drive this programme forward, Marie Francis was appointed as the Regional Food and Farming Champion on 1 September 2006. Marie’s first task was to restructure the existing SFFS Steering Group to ensure a greater industry focus. An Industry Group has been set up to raise issues affecting the sector, and to suggest ways to overcome the problems facing businesses. To take these further, an Implementation Group meets, formed of the main partners in the region, who are able to make things happen.

In November 2008 the Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy Group jointly with EEDA hosted the conference “Growing Our Future Food”. The conference was designed to explore the messages from the earlier work with a wider range of stakeholders. The conference concluded the following as key issues:

  • To promote a Supportive Economic and Commercial Environment to encourage commercial investment in sustainable food production.
  • To Refocus Research and Development effort to promote much more rapid commercialisation of the UKs World class research base in the agri-food sector.
  • To Enhance Skills and Recruitment of New Entrants within the agriculture sector to provide a motivated, productive and dynamic workforce.
  • To develop a Clearer & Stronger Regional & National Voice on the priorities for the whole food chain.