What Does Intersectionality Have to Do with Sustainable Farming?
Did you know that in the UK alone, more than 70 percent of the land is used for farming? Well, Together TV challenges you to brush up your knowledge on the “ancient” way of living known as sustainable agriculture. Luckily, you won’t have to do all your research on your own because Together TV’s This Farming Life will be airing this February showcasing the work that farmers do to maintain sustainable agriculture.
Maintaining sustainable agriculture comes with many complexities, especially post Brexit. As LGBTQ+ allies, we will also explore the uphill battles revolving around intersectionalities within the farming community like sexuality. However, with enough grit and encouragement these incredible farmers are able to power through triumphantly and we’re going to show you why you need to support them.
Why is Sustainable Agriculture Important?
This Farming Life follows the struggles and successes of various different farming families in Scotland and Northern England; and, although you may not be a farmer, it is important to understand how your food is being produced and where it is coming from for various reasons.
First, let’s understand how these farmers help fight the need for increased food production and nutrition whilst caring for the environment through sustainable farming and animal agriculture. Sustainable agriculture is farming in a sustainable way that meets society’s food needs without compromising the ability for future generations and their needs. A lot of sustainable farming is based on an understanding of ecosystem services such as the clean air and water we receive from nature, fertile soil for crop production, pollination and flood control.
Therefore, understanding where your food is coming from is important because animal agriculture is a major contributor to global warming, which we’re all trying to slow down. The ethical treatment of animals has also come under fire, which occurs commonly on non-sustainable farms such as factory farms. It’s another great reason why it is important to support how Britain is specialising its farm life to be more sustainable and to support sustainable animal agriculture.
Unsurprisingly, sustainable agriculture has also been greatly affected by Brexit. Food production in Britain has slowed down causing farms to shrink because of Brexit barriers. In particular, because free trade is no longer unlimited, any transfer of goods now must go through a series of costly requirement checks and approvals, which impacts livestock because it adds more demands for farmers to keep their produce fresh leading to food wastage.
We need to support our sustainable farms so they can get vital funding, so here are great reasons why you should support sustainable agriculture and local farming:
- Sustainable agriculture minimises environmental damage and uses resources and energy more efficiently
- Sustainably farmed UK goods can be exported to other continents with more ease despite Brexit barriers
- Sustainable agriculture benefits the environment over factory farming by producing less greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and impact on wildlife
It is never too late to start supporting and aiding the farming community in a time when they are also feeling the pinch. Many of them are struggling and you can help out by donating or volunteering at your local farm.
Intersectionalities in the Farming Community
Intersectionalities within the farming community are also a major factor that contribute to their struggles. Intersectionality is how aspects of a person's social and political identities combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege, and in many farmers’ cases their sexuality is another difficulty that adds complexities into the daily life of farming after Brexit.
It might surprise you to know that being gay in an agricultural environment can be doubly as hard on one's mental health. The long hours outside and high financial reserves it requires to be a farmer is burdening enough, but identifying as an LGBTQ+ farmer is difficult in a traditional industry. Mental health support can be extremely beneficial. The Gay Farmer Helpline has reported helping over 500 farmers since it started. One farmer has shared that "it helped me find information, as well as the opportunity to meet other gay men in the farming community. It helps knowing there are others like myself." These farmers' lives will still be full of daily hurdles, but, thanks to the helpline, these individuals no longer have to struggle in silence with their identity.
If you would like to help and learn more about supporting LGBTQ+ farmers follow organisations like Agrespect that are dedicated to promoting and supporting diversity in the British countryside. You can also become an ally for LGBTQ+ farmers by advocating and promoting inclusivity. It is a first step in inspiring change in others and help stand up for the LGBTQ+ community.
There are so many reasons to support sustainable agriculture and the farmers of all intersectionalities that work everyday to uphold ethical agriculture. The hurdles they overcome to keep Britain fed AND produce less greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, whilst caring for the wildlife deserves our support.
Interested in more blogs from Together TV? Take a look at our website for more. This Farming Life premieres Tuesday, 7th February 2023 on Together TV. You can watch on Freeview 83, +1 Channel 92, Sky 170, Virgin 269, Freesat 164 and online via our streaming service. And if you want to watch more shows like This Farming Life, check out the BAFTA winning Our Land, which follows black farmers who overcome barriers of race, class and land injustice in the UK.