Case study

A-Zero, a Farmer's Guide

Credit: The Prince's Countryside Fund

Breaking free from environmental jargon

The Need to Understand

On acceptance of the Farmers Weekly ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award in February 2021, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales challenged the ‘obscure’ and ‘unhelpful’ language used around the environment, which creates a barrier to farm businesses and land managers who are trying to make a positive impact.

The countryside, what it does, what it produces and what it offers impacts on us all. Farm businesses – particularly small family livestock farms – need urgent support to prepare for the changes within the agricultural industry, including the removal of direct payments from the government to funding environmental improvements. It is critical that all farmers and land managers engage with these schemes to achieve government commitments to the environment, as well as to secure the food supply chain, sustain rural communities, protect the countryside and ensure the future of their farming enterprises.

The Farm Resilience Network survey run by The Prince’s Countryside Fund last year, found that:

Creating a Common Language

Responding to this challenge, The Prince’s Countryside Fund proposed an accessible, easy to understand glossary. With over 18,000 beef farmers, as well as potato producers, salad growers, poultry farmers and more, McDonald’s got behind the project to create a credible, open source farmer’s guide that would not only support the The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s existing programmes but deliver clarity for the wider farming industry and enable them to make positive sustainability choices every day.

Together they produced “A-Zero: A farmer’s guide to breaking free from environmental jargon” which explains technical terms linked to sustainability and the environment in practical language. As well as de-mystifying these terms, the guide offers practical examples demonstrating how farmers can make changes on farms which are then eligible for future environmental schemes, to help them play their part in mitigating the climate crisis.

Credit: The Prince's Countryside Fund, A Farmer's Guide

The farmer’s guide was launched at the Great Yorkshire Show (July 2021) by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. Speaking at the event, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales said: “We must recognise the day-to-day pressures that farmers are under, and provide our support to help them move forward – as they say, you can’t go green if you’re actually in the red. It’s self-evident that people cannot do things differently if they don’t know what is being asked of them, and it is unhelpful perhaps that many terms used to describe environmental processes are somewhat obscure and off-putting. So I really am delighted that my Countryside Fund has asked farmers themselves what would actually help here, and have put together this helpful booklet, which explains many of the more obscure terms in clear language.”

The guide, printed on paper made from recycled McDonald’s coffee cups, was distributed to 20,000 farmers through the farming press, as well as being made available online, to ensure it reached its target audience. It was also sent to all 1,000 members of The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s Farm Resilience Network and distributed through The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s Farm Support Group Initiative, which has a membership of 6,000 farm businesses across the UK.

Enabling Family Farms to Thrive

The overarching aim for the farmer’s guide is to ensure that government environmental programmes are accessible to all, encouraging an acceleration in uptake, increasing interest, and ultimately working towards achieving government commitments to the environment. There are similar guides for tree planting, natural capital and green finance being developed.

Specifically for The Prince’s Countryside Fund, this will accelerate their environmental support to enable family farms to thrive, creating a real future for rural Britain.

To learn more about the work of The Prince’s Countryside Fund and how working with them can support those within your supply chain to access understandable, relatable and actionable environmental language, please visit their website. 

 

This case study was prepared by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, in partnership with McDonald’s UK & Ireland