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Episode 5: With Sue Pritchard

In this latest Sustainable Food Trust podcast, Patrick Holden talks to Sue Pritchard, Chief Executive of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) and a fellow, organic farmer in Wales.

On the premises of Fir Farm in the Cotswolds, Patrick talks to Sue about her journey into farming, from her Welsh heritage, to attending Atlantic College, and later becoming the Chief Executive of the FFCC.

Sue begins by sharing how she made her dream a reality, becoming a farmer, and converting to organic production. Sue’s approach has always been to farm alongside nature, encouraging biodiversity, and rearing livestock for conservation grazing.

Like the Sustainable Food Trust, the FFCC is working to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems. Before setting out the FFCC’s main objectives, Sue addresses the need for collaboration with other organisations, saying “we will not be able to do this alone”.

The first objective, which aligns with much of the Sustainable Food Trust’s own work, is to make ‘healthy, sustainably produced food, easily available for everyone, everywhere’. This raises questions about affordability, and access to locally sustainable food systems.

‘Enabling the transition to agroecological farming’ is the second objective, and Sue describes the FFCC’s plan to support farmers in making the transition towards more sustainable practices. Finally, Sue explains why ‘building resilience and adaptability’ into communities is of great importance, particularly in the face of the serious threats of climate change.

Later in the conversation, Patrick and Sue discuss the increasing public confusion about what to eat to be healthy and sustainable, as well as the important role of Government in changing citizen behaviour around diets, and the need to make sure that sustainable farming and healthy, nutritious diets are priority issues for policymakers.

Finally, on challenging orthodoxies, Sue highlights the ‘problems that arise when coming at a complex issue (such as climate change) through a single lens’ and the need to consider nature, biodiversity, human health and equitable food distribution, holistically.

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Sue Pritchard is Chief Executive of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, a charity which works with partners in government, business, NGOs and communities to generate radical ideas and practical actions for a more fair and sustainable food and farming system and a countryside that works for all. We work by convening leadership on difficult questions, devising and implementing recommendations and growing our capacity to adapt and be more resilient to the changes ahead. Sue and her family farm at Llananant Farm, an organic, conservation led, livestock farm in Monmouthshire.