We already have a food crisis – think of our food banks, hungry children, food waste…
And now new trade rules and BREXIT threaten further problems, like lowering food standards and breaking links with traditional suppliers.
A new report A People’s Food Policy has been put together by over 150 organisations (unions, community and campaign groups) and tries to answer the questions: What does a better food system look like and what policies are needed to get us there?
The consensus is that our current food system is in a state of crisis, characterised by:
* Food insecurity – an estimated over eight million people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland experience food insecurity and struggle to eat even one meal a day.
* Low paid farmers – 64% of farmers earn less than £10,000 a year
* Corporate dominance – eight supermarkets control almost 95% of the food retail market,and farmers receive less than 10% of the value of their produce sold in supermarkets.
* Poor working conditions – for people in the food and farming sectors
* Lack of support -for new entrant farmers or funding for farmers producing food on less than five hectares of land
* Contribution to climate change – industrial agriculture continues to produce a tenth of all greenhouse gases (GHG) in the UK as it is dependent on unsustainable inputs of fossil fuels and chemicals.
A People’s Food Policy looks at all different aspects of the food system from land, labour, markets, health, trade, environment etc and presents a comprehensive vision for how it could be different as well as identifying the interconnected policies that help us get to that vision.
It’s radical and positive. The report is based on the framework of food sovereignty – which has come from the voices and experiences of farmers from all over the world. Food sovereignty sees food as a right, in the hands of people who consume and produce food and valuing both environment and the people who produce food. It provides the strongest, most credible governance framework that we could have in this country.
But to get these ideas anywhere near the political radar, we need strong, co-ordinated movement building between individuals, communities and voluntary and civil society groups from across the spectrum. Collectively pulling together to push for a better food system, from the bottom up. Its not just something that we want, its something that we need.
Another good read on our broken food system is by Jay Rayner