The UK food system is broken – too many people have only limited access to nutritious, affordable, high-quality food that doesn’t cost the earth, that doesn’t harm the well being of those who grow and harvest it.
OrganicLea connects our day-to-day work to a wider vision for a more just and sustainable food system. We are proud to be active members of a range of local, national and international networks that share our goal of promoting food sovereignty. Here is some current food for thought on this topic from some of our partners.
A People’s Food Policy
The People’s Food Policy is a ground-breaking manifesto outlining a people’s vision of food and farming in England. The report, supported by over 100 food and farming organisations, draws on 18 months of extensive, nation-wide consultations with grassroots organisations, NGOs, trade unions, community projects, small businesses and individuals. It has resulted in a set of policy proposals and a vision for change that is rooted in the lived experiences and needs of people most affected by the failures in the current food system.
Post-Brexit Agricultural Policy
In the 10 years following the implementation of the 2003 Common Agricultural Policy reform, 35,000 farms left the land in the UK, most of these were small-scale and family farms. We need to ensure that British Agricultural policy being developed now will not repeat the same mistakes.
The Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) have developed a range of policy proposals aimed at protecting small scale, traditional and family farms, creating more environmental farming systems without losing sight of production, and giving new entrants more support to set up and scale up.
To meet the UK demand for fruit and vegetables a massive scaling up of production is required. Currently UK production represents 58% of vegetables consumed and only 11% of fruit. Only 1% of Pillar 1direct agricultural payments are offered to the horticultural sector, despite public health advice to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, and reduce meat, dairy and sugar.
See the LWA’s policy proposals here.
Supporting the Local Economy
Across the UK, community food enterprises are playing pioneering roles in their local economies. That’s the finding of ‘think and do tank’ Shared Assets who have published new guides based on their research which involved working with Organiclea, Kindling Trust in Manchester and the Ecological Land Cooperative. They found that community food enterprises are meeting a growing demand for local, seasonal, healthy food, using their land and skills to offer training, employment, education and community participation. But they face challenges, particularly in accessing land, so the Shared Assets guides offer support both for community enterprises, and for local authorities who work with them. See sharedassets.org.uk.
Underlying the way our food is produced and distributed is a complex history spanning thousands of years of struggles over land – see our poster. The Land Justice Network is a network of groups, individuals and networks who recognise the need to change the way land is owned, used, distributed and controlled in the UK. See their website for details of events and actions.