GIVEN the increased need for resilience of local food supplies, we’re writing to urge the county council’s Conservative administration to halt its sell off of the county farms estate.

Even before Covid-19, we were re-thinking the way in which food comes to our table.

Brexit, yet-to-be-decided trade deals and climate change were already serving as catalysts for a change to the way we source, distribute and supply food.

The last few weeks have been a powerful illustration of the importance of our capacity to feed ourselves when something happens to disrupt business as usual.

That means food from local producers reaching us with a minimal carbon footprint and a short supply chain. It has also made us realise just how crucial primary food producers are to our survival.

Not only could county farms give local people the opportunity of a career in farming, they could also unleash a whole new wave of smallholdings and home grown food and reverse our shortage of allotments.

Which makes it all the more regrettable that Somerset County Council has sold off two-thirds of our county’s farms since 2010.

When we considered the privations that might come with Brexit we didn’t reckon on a lockdown instead.

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This crisis is teaching us to be better connected with the world in our own neighbourhoods, the mental health benefits of planting and growing and above all the need for better resilience.

Smallholdings began as idea to liberate people and give them a living back at the turn of the twentieth century, they are even more important now.

Let’s put a moratorium on the sell off until this is all over and we can review how these precious assets can boost local food supplies and mental wellbeing for hundreds, if not thousands, of Somerset people.

GIDEON AMOS Lib Dem Taunton Deane Parliamentary Spokesperson

CLLR ROSS HENLEY Lib Dem - Hatch and Blackdown