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The official website of the

West Oxfordshire branch

of the

Green Party of England and Wales.

 

 

Serving members, supporters and citizens in the towns and villages around West Oxfordshire, including the following wards:

 

  • Alvescot and Filkins
  • Ascott and Shipton
  • Bampton and Clanfield
  • Brize Norton and Shilton
  • Burford
  • Carterton North West
  • Carterton South  
  • Chadlington and Churchill
  • Charlbury and Finstock
  • Chipping Norton
  • Ducklington
  • Eynsham and Cassington
  • Freeland and Hanborough
  • Hailey, Minster Lovell and Leafield
  • Kingham, Rollright and Enstone
  • Milton under Wychwood
  • North Leigh
  • Standlake, Aston and Stanton Harcourt
  • Stonesfield and Tackley
  • The Bartons
  • Witney Central
  • Witney East
  • Witney North
  • Witney South
  • Witney West
  • Woodstock and Bladon

 

 

 

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West Oxfordshire Cotswold gateway

Real Food and Sustainable Agriculture

Welcome to our West Oxfordshire Green Party page on Food and Farming. You may also be interested to join in discussions in our Food and Farming Blog


Three quarters of our constituency is presently covered by farmland (56% cereals, 30% livestock) with a population of 687,466 (2019) largely in Witney, Burford, Carterton, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Eynsham and Woodstock and villages in between.  Every year, more and more agricultural and green spaces are sacrificed to new housing developers.

 

At the moment we have an appealing mix of access to pleasant green spaces and centres for business but this doesn't remove us from the alarming symptoms of climate emergency. Some members will recount their personal experiences of repeat flooding in their properties since 2007.  

Simultaneously we have been experiencing grave concerns about the water quality of our beloved rivers, Windrush and Evenlode.   

We know the farming industry could make a hugely significant contribution to our carbon storage if we were collectively minded to seize the opportunity.  

 

More recently, our changed status with the EU and Covid-19 has made us question where we plan to source our food from and indeed, how it's grown.  Can we influence a different use of the land that is on our doorstep?

The past years have been hugely challenging for our farmers who have had to depend on subsidies from the EU whilst also needing to raise income with other activities apart from the land, just to make ends meet.

 

Margins are very tight, supermarkets and multinational cereal companies drive the hardest of bargains and conditions.  

 

Trends, guided by government post WW2 have persuaded farmers to push for higher yields at the unacknowledged cost to biodiversity.

 

We also have a situation where younger people are discouraged by the exodus from the sector and lack the very considerable capital to get started should they desire to farm independently.  

 

West Oxfordshire a rural District

What can we do?  

We know we cannot continue to depend on importing so much out of season food, nor tolerate living in a society with such a degree of food poverty as we have seen over the past year.

 

We cannot afford to lose any more of our top soil into the rivers, nor allow these rivers to flood as they presently do, being constantly polluted with nitrates and phosphates.  

 

Some of us have used lockdown to spend more time growing food than before and found satisfaction in the putting down of roots, caring for the soil and wildlife sharing our spaces.  

 

We have been really encouraged by:

 

 - the highly successful Oxford Real Farming Conference:

 

 - the regenerative farming movement with its ethos of seven year rotation allowing the roots of a variety of plants to become established rebuilding life underground

 

  - Community Supported Agriculture which has set up the Kitchen Garden Scheme stimulating both local employment and opportunities for us to have supplies of vegetables on a regular basis within our towns and villages.  

Green Party Supporting and Agricultural Transition
Encourage farmers to plant trees, restore peatlands and move towards organic regenerative farming with deep carbon rich soils
Help farmers to reduce emissions and promote biodiversity
Move away from intensive livestock farming towards supplying plant based diets

To allow us to reflect on how we, the members and supporters of the Green Party, can improve this situation and how we can convert those thoughts into action we have created a Real Food and Sustainable Farming blog .

 

Please feel free to contribute, as issues and relevant thoughts arise.

 

Rae Cather 05.02.21

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