FOOD AND FARMING IN THE NEWS
News coverage over the last month has focused on the government’s stance on a no-deal Brexit and the increasing attention on climate change.
The issue of climate change is important with the government committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. The way we farm, has a key role in tackling climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) recently issued a global report into land use and its impact on the climate. Much of the media coverage focused on changing diets and reducing meat consumption.
It is paramount that the government recognises the important role British farmers play in producing food for our growing population. We must not import products from other parts of the world which may not have been produced to the animal welfare and environmental standards that farmers work to in the UK.
We call for the government to source British food where possible to serve in schools and hospitals, and for consumers to play a vital part by buying British produced food.
The government has launched a call for evidence to inform a major review of the food industry, preceding the creation of a National Food Strategy: https://www.nationalfoodstrategy.org/
From the Defra website:
National Food Strategy – Call for Evidence ( Defra -Citizen Space)
Closes 25 Oct 2019
Opened 17 Aug 2019
On 27 June, Defra’s Secretary of State commissioned Henry Dimbleby to conduct an independent review to help the government create its first National Food Strategy for 75 years.
The purpose of the review is to address the environmental and health problems caused by our food system, to ensure the security of our food supply, and to maximise the benefits of the coming revolution in agricultural technology.
The National Food Strategy will examine activity across several departments of state, building on the flagship Agriculture Bill and Fisheries Bill currently before Parliament, the Industrial Strategy, the Childhood Obesity Plan and the upcoming Environment Bill.
It is intended to be an overarching strategy for government, designed to ensure that our food system:
- delivers safe, healthy, affordable food, regardless of where people live or how much they earn
- is robust in the face of future shocks
- restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation in this country
- is built upon a resilient, sustainable and humane agriculture sector
- is a thriving contributor to our urban and rural economies, delivering well paid jobs and supporting innovative producers and manufacturers across the country
- delivers all this in an efficient and cost-effective way
The government has committed to responding with a White Paper six months after the review is published. It has also asked Henry Dimbleby to review progress 12 months after that.
Why We Are Consulting
The purpose of this call for evidence is to gather inspiration to help us transform our food system. We want to hear from anyone who has a good idea: producers, processors, retailers, consumers, academics, policy specialists, inventors, farm labourers, factory workers, health care practitioners, charity workers, or simply interested citizens.
We are looking for ideas big and small. From government policies to simple practical things that make a difference in your community or your business. These might be things that are already working well, here or abroad, and that could be scaled up or used differently. Or they might be new ideas: things that haven’t been tried yet at scale, but which you think have the potential to improve the system. We would like to understand the rationale for your proposals and study the accompanying evidence.
The scope of the strategy is within England, but we would also love to hear from people in the devolved administrations or abroad.
We are looking for innovations you have seen work in your home, your neighbourhood, or your business, in this country or beyond: ideas that help citizens make informed decisions about the food they eat, or which increase access to and affordability of high-quality food; ideas that make food production more environmentally sustainable, creating a flourishing countryside rich in wildlife; ideas that help farming, fishing and food businesses and communities thrive, benefitting employees and the wider community; or that promote the highest standards of animal health and welfare; or that could put England at the forefront of innovation and reshape our food system in the coming years.
We will publish a summary of the responses on the government website at: www.gov.uk/defra 12 weeks after the consultation closes.
Note to academics
We will be reading a huge amount of published evidence, and we may be calling for more technical evidence later in the process. In the meantime, we would particularly like to hear about new research which:
- Strengthens or challenges the conclusions of previous reviews into specific topics. For example, interventions to prevent obesity, or the roles of regenerative and other types of agricultural practices – anything that could help us improve any part of the food system.
- Is complete but hasn’t yet been published, where the findings contribute significantly to the debate.
- Is still ongoing but where, again, the emerging findings might contribute significantly to the debate.
How to submit evidence
The easiest way to submit your ideas is via the online survey https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agri-food-chain-directorate/national-food-strategy-call-for-evidence/
but you can also send responses to the email or the postal address below:
- National Food Strategy Team,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
Area SE, 2nd Floor,
2 Marsham Street,
We ask you to keep your responses to 1,000 words or fewer, not including the list of references and supporting evidence. Where you are referencing but not attaching supporting documents, please describe them accurately, including the correct authors, titles, dates and publisher, so that we can find them ourselves.
We will be reviewing previous consultations and calls for evidence, and will build on the work underway in the Agriculture Bill, the Environment Bill, the Fisheries Bill, the Industrial Strategy and the Childhood Obesity Plan. If you have submitted interesting ideas and solutions to these consultations that you don’t think have been picked up in the policy, please feel free to resubmit. Please reference the original consultation to which it was submitted.