The Universities of York and Lancaster joined forces for first study of supply chain resilience to constitutional change in the face of the UK’s exit from the European Union – with the findings presented before MPs and Lords.

From left, The Brexit Effect project lead Professor Linda Hendry, with Kerry McCarthy MP, Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and Gail Orton, Director, Government Affairs, Europe, Tate and Lyle Sugars.

Given the likelihood of Brexit having a long-term impact on agricultural funding, and ongoing increasing competitive pressures on small local farmers, the resilience of local agri-food supply chains could be threatened. Yet, the local food concept can address social issues through the employment of local people, environmental issues through potential supply network changes to reduce food miles, and economic issues by retaining the circulation of funds within the local community.

A total of £18,760 N8 AgriFood pump priming funded research into the measures needed to ensure that local agri-food supply chains are sustained and strengthened in the new constitutional context.

The team collected anonymised data from 14 organisations (including farmers, processors, retailers and NGOs) and worked with local and national  government. The team sought to significantly influence government, the local community and supply chain actors both via the data collection process and  through disseminating results.

The findings of the study were shared and discussed at a breakfast meeting at the House of Commons in February 2018, entitled: ‘From Farm to Fork: The UK’s Food and Farming Future Post-Brexit” attended by members of the Houses of Parliament and the House of Lords as well as various industrialists. In addition, the findings were shared and discussed in September 2018 at an event held as part of the Lancaster Health Festival bringing together members of the local community, local producers and the mayor.

The pump priming project cemented valuable multi-stakeholder collaborations and contributed to the current Brexit debate.

Read the project’s resulting paper publication HERE.