Our vision

At NRFC, our aim is to enable food and farming systems in the North of England to make a just transition towards more regenerative, agroecological and nature-friendly practices, otherwise known as ‘real farming’. 

Inspired by the Oxford Real Farming Conference, our understanding of real farming is shaped by three principles:

  • Economic democracy – decision making is taken locally by stakeholders such as farmers, communities, customers rather than vested global corporations.
  • Food sovereignty – the idea that individuals and communities everywhere must have control over their own food supply.
  • Agroecology – where farms are conceived as ecosystems and agriculture as a whole is seen as a key component of the biosphere.

We recognise that this is an ambitious goal which will take time to achieve, which is why we place such a high value on working collaboratively and strategically across the region and the farming and food systems. 

We anticipate that achieving this aim will involve a series of wider changes, including:

  • Fair pay, terms and conditions – including government payments – for farmers. 
  • More support and better access to markets for nature friendly farmers.
  • Better training and support to help farmers in the North of England transition to agroecological approaches.
  • Expanded capacity for short supply chains for agroecologically produced food.
  • Transparency and development within production, processing and distribution systems. 
  • Better, coherent, food strategies at regional and local levels within the North of England, including the development of procurement systems which support agroecological producers.
  • That all producers contribute to building both the wider health of natural ecosystems (combating climate change, building biodiversity, soil, water etc.) and the cultural and natural heritage of the human communities they support.
  • Education and training are available at a whole range of levels/stages/places to inspire the farmers of the future and cover all the skills needed to develop a regenerative food system.

You can read more about our vision and our work in our Manifesto, which we co-developed with NGOs, farmer organisations, researchers, and other food system workers across the North of England as part of our 2023 strategic review process.