Scotland’s small producers on front line of climate and nature fightback

Small farmers, crofters and growers can be at the heart of tackling the climate crisis.

Scotland’s local producers are being empowered to lead on the climate and nature fightback thanks to vital changes in financial support secured from the government by Scottish Greens. 

The Scottish Greens rural affairs spokesperson, Ariane Burgess MSP, successfully secured several key amendments to the Agriculture and Rural Communities Bill that will open up new support pathways for small producers, market gardeners, crofters, and others pursuing sustainable food production and nature restoration efforts.

Ms Burgess said: "Small producers are among the most productive per hectare and are leaders in implementing nature-based solutions. But many have been locked out of receiving agricultural support in the past. My amendments will be a game-changer, opening up routes to funding for these key workers who are at the forefront of addressing climate change and rebuilding our local food economies.

“I have consistently championed smaller-scale farmers and crofters who are prioritising nature, community benefit, and sustainable livelihoods. This Bill creates an important framework for transforming our food and agriculture system in a just and green direction.”

While celebrating the Bill's progress, Ms Burgess stressed that more work needs to be done to truly shift public spending toward regenerative land uses. The Scottish Greens have committed to keep pushing for land reform measures to improve access for new farmers and robust protections for agricultural workers.

Ms Burgess added: "We are heading in a positive direction, but significant further changes are needed to address the climate and nature crises through how we manage our land and what agricultural practices we incentivize.

“The Greens will follow implementation closely to achieve a just transition that revitalises rural communities while restoring our environment.”

Ms Burgess thanked the many organisations like Nourish Scotland, Landworkers Alliance, Scottish Crofting Federation, and Scottish Environment LINK that helped inform her work on the Bill. She also paid tribute to the farmers and crofters across Scotland working to create more sustainable food systems.

Specific wins by Burgess in the Bill include:

  • Enabling new financial support schemes tailored to small fruit and vegetable producers like market gardeners

  • Allowing payments for maintaining areas of land for nature and biodiversity

  • Supporting agroforestry efforts that integrate trees on farms and crofts

  • Backing climate-friendly practices like protecting soil health

  • Promoting diversified income opportunities in rural areas like nature tourism

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