Why we do it
For thousands of years Britain’s landscape was home to a great diversity of plants and animals that lived in a mosaic of woodland, grassland, marsh and farmland. People and their livestock were part of, and dependent on, this rich natural community. Over the last century intensive agriculture has stripped away that natural abundance, threatening the future of wildlife and making food production unsustainable.
The trouble with intensive farming
Over the last 70 years Britain's farmers have been encouraged to work the land hard, to grow more food for us, as cheaply as possible. Yields have increased spectacularly, and food is cheaper than ever, but the cost is the disappearance of most wildlife, the degradation of our soil, pollution of our waterways and damage to our food security.
Traditional mixed farms often grew grains, fruits and vegetables as well as rearing a variety of livestock. Hedges formed field boundaries, and ponds allowed animals to drink. But this untidy, wildlife-rich tapestry has been radically simplified by intensive farming. Great swathes of the countryside are now dominated by giant fields with monocultures of wheat, maize, oilseed rape and rye grass. Pesticides and fertilisers have wiped out wild plants and animals, with the numbers of bees, butterflies, birds and mammals plummeting. Hedgehogs, tree sparrows and turtle doves were all once common but have declined by over 90%.
A wilder way to farm
Because 70% of our landscape is used for agriculture, how we choose to farm has a massive impact on the future of British wildlife. We know that farmers want to farm sustainably and protect their natural capital - the soil, water, carbon and pollinators that their livelihoods depends on - but the pressure to maximise yields and minimise prices makes sustainability difficult to achieve. Farm Wilder exists to help agriculture work in harmony with nature once again.
We work with farmers to encourage regenerative practices right across the farm, improving habitats for wildlife, building healthy soils and encouraging less intensive farming that is financially sustainable. Our Farm Standards and Regenerative Plans ensure that farmers have clear guidance and share common goals, and in return for working with us we pay them a fairer price for their produce.
Less and better meat
Farming in harmony with nature means fewer livestock being managed in a more sustainable and regenerative way. This makes the meat tastier and healthier than from conventional, intensively reared animals, but the yields are inevitably lower. This is why we advocate eating less meat, but when you do making sure it's better quality, from sustainable farming, and being prepared to pay a little more for it.